OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

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                   RISE AND PROGRESS

                   ILLUSTRATED IN A COURSE OF


                            SUITED TO PERSONS
                     Of every Character and Circumstance:

                                   WITH A


                      SUBJOINED TO EACH CHAPTER

                    by PHILIP DODDRIDGE, D. D.

                                PUBLISHED BY

                     THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
                     150 NASSAU STREET NEW-YORK.
                           D. Faushaw, Printer.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.


THE several hints given in the first chapter of this Treatise, which contains a particular
plan of the design, render it unnecessary to introduce it with a long preface. My much
honored friend, Dr. WATTS, had laid the scheme, especially of the former part. But as
those indispositions with which God has been pleased to exercise him had forbid his
hopes of being able. to add this to his many labors of love to immortal soul; he was
pleased, in a very affectionate and importunate manner, to urge me to undertake it:
And I bless God with my whole heart, not only that he hath carried me through this
delightful task, (for such indeed I have found it) but also that he hath spared that
worthy and amiable person to see it accomplished, and given him strength and spirit to
review so considerable a part of it. His approbation, expressed in stronger terms than
modesty will permit me to repeat, encourages me to hope that it is executed in such a
manner as may, by the Divine blessing, render it of some general service. And I the
rather hope it will be so, as it now comes abroad into the world, not only with my own
prayers and his, but also with those of many other pious friends, which I have been
particularly careful to engage for its success.
        Into whatever hands this work may come; I must desire that, before any pass
their judgment upon it, they would please to read it through, that they may discern the
connexion between one part of it and another; which I the rather request, because I have
long observed that Christians of different parties have been eagerly laying hold on
particular parts of the system of Divine truth, and have been contending about them, as
if each had been all; or as if the separation of the members from each other, and from
the head, were the preservation of the body, instead of its destruction. They have been
zealous to espouse the defence, and to maintain the honor and usefulness of each apart
whereas the honor, as well as the usefulness seems to me to lie much in their
connection, and suspicions have often arisen betwixt the respective defenders of each,
which have appeared as unreasonable and absurd as if all the preparations for securing
one part of a ship in a storm were to be censured as a contrivance to sink the rest. I pray
God to give to all his ministers and people more and more of the spirit of wisdom, and
of love, and of a sound mind and to remove far from us those mutual jealousies and
animosities which hinder our acting with that unanimity which is necessary in order to
the successful carrying on of our common warfare against the enemies of Christianity.
We may be sure these enemies will never fail to make their own advantage of our
multiplied divisions and severe contests with each other. But they must necessarily lose
both their ground and their influence, in proportion to the degree in which the energy
of Christian principles is felt to unite and transform the heart of those by whom they are
        I have studied in this Treatise the greatest plainness of speech, that the lowest of
my readers may, if possible, be able to uinderstand every word; and I hope persons of a
more elegant taste and refined education will pardon what appeared to me so necessary
a piece of charity. Such a care in practical writings seems one important instance of that
                                      OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

honoring all men, which our amiable and condescending religion teaches us; and I have
been particularly obliged to my worthy patron for what he hath done to shortcn some
of the sentences, and to put my meaning into plainer and more familiar words.
         I must add one remark here, which I heartily wish I had not omitted in the first
edition, viz. That though I do in this book consider my reader as successively in a great
variety of supposed circumstances, beginning with those of a thoughtless sinner, and
leading thim through several stages of conviction, terror, &c. as what may be previous
to his sincerely accepting the Gospel, and devoting himself to the service of God; yet I
would by no means be thought to insinuate, that every one who is brought to that happy
resolution, arrives at it through those particular steps, or feels agitations of mind equal in degree
to those I have described. Some sense of sin, and some serious and humbling apprehension
of our danger and misery in consequence of it, must indeed be necessary to dispose us
to receive the grace of the Gospel, and the Saviour who is there exhibited to our faith.
But God is pleased sometimes to begin the work of his grace in the heart almost from
the first dawning of reason, and to carry it on by such gentle and insensible degrees,
that very excellent persons, who have made the most eminent attainments in the Divine
life, have been unable to recount any remarkable history of their conversion. And so far
as I can learn, this is most frequently the case with those of them who have enjoyed the
benefit of a pious education, when it has not been succeeded by a vicious and licentious
youth. God forbid, therefore, that any should be so insensible of their own happiness as
to fall into perplexity with relation to their spiritual state, for want oft being able to
trace such a rise of religion in their minds as it was necessary on my plan for me to
describe and exemplify here. I have spoken my sentiments on this head so fully in the
eighth of my Sermons on Regeneration, that I think none who has read and remembers
the general contents of it can be ill danger of mistaking my meaning here. But as it is
very possible this book may fall into the hands or many who have not read the other,
and have no opportunity of consulting it, I thought it proper to insert this caution in the
preface to this; and I am much obliged to that worthy and excellent person who kindly
reminded me of the expediency of doing it.
                                                              PHILIP DODDRIDGE
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.


                                        CHAPTER I.


   1.2.That true religion is very rare, appears from comparing the nature of it with the lives
   and characters of men around us.—3. The want of it, matter of just lamentation.—4. To
   remedy this evil is the design of the ensuing Treatise.—5. 6. To which, therefore, the
   Author earnestly bespeaks the attention of the reader, as his own heart is deeply
   interested in it.— 12. A general plan of the Work; of which the first fifteen chapters
   relate chiefly to the Rise of Religion, and the remaining chapters to its Progress,—Prayer
   for the success of the Work.

1. WHEN we look around us with an attentive eye, and consider the characters and
pursuits of men, we plainly see, that though, in the original constitution of their natures,
they only, of all the creatures that dwell on the face of the earth, are capable of religion,
yet many of them shamefully neglect it. And whatever different notions people may
entertain of what they call religion, all must agree in owning that it is very far from
being a universal thing.
        2. Religion, in its most general view, is such a Sense of God in the soul, and such
a conviction of our obligations to him, and of our dependence upon him, as shall
engage us to make it our great care to conduct ourselves in a manner which we have
reason to believe will be pleasing to him. Now, when we have given this plain account
of religion, it is by no means necessary that we should search among the savages of
distant Pagan nations to find instances of those who are strangers to it. When we view
the conduct of the generality of people at home, in a Christian and Protestant nation, in
a nation whose obligations to God have been singular, almost beyond those of any
other people under heaven, will any one presume to say that religion has a universal
reign among us? Will any one suppose that it prevails in every life; that it reigns in
every heart? Alas! the avowed infidelity, the profanation of the name and day of God,
the drunkenness, the lewdness, the injustice, the falsehood, the pride, the prodigality,
the base selfishness, and stupid insensibility about the spiritual and eternal interests of
themselves and others, which so generally appear among us, loudly proclaim the
contrary. So that one would imagine, upon this view, that thousands and tens of
thousands thought the neglect, and even the contempt of religion, were a glory, rather
than a reproach. And where is the neighborhood, where is the society, where is the
happy family, consisting of any considerable number, in which, on a more exact
examination, we find reason to say, “religion fills even this little circle?” Where is,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

perhaps, a freedom from any gross and scandalous immoralities, an external decency of
behavior, an attendance on the outward forms of worship in public, and, here and
there, in the family; yet amidst all this, there is nothing which looks like the genuine
actings of the spiritual and divine life. There is no appearance of love to God, no
reverence of his presence, no desire of his favor as the highest good: there is no cordial
belief of the Gospel of salvation; no eager solicitude to escape that condemnation which
we have incurred by sin; no hearty concern to secure that eternal life which Christ has
purchased and secured for his people, and which he freely promises to all who will
receive him. Alas! whatever the love of a friend, or even a parent can do; whatever
inclination there may be to hope all things, and believe all things the most favorable,
evidence to the contrary will force itself upon the mind, and extort the unwilling
conclusion, that, whatever else may be amiable in this dear friend—in that favorite
child—“religion dwells not in his breast.”
         3. To a heart that firmly believes the Gospel, and in views persons and things the
light of eternity, this is one of the most mournful considerations in the world. And
indeed, to such a one, all other calamities and evils of human nature appear trifles,
when compared with this-the absence of real religion, and that contrariety to it which
reigns in so many thousands of mankind. Let this be cured, and all the other evils will
easily be borne; nay, good will be extracted out of them. But if this continue, it “bringeth
forth fruit unto death;” (Rom. 7:5) and in consequence of it, multitudes, who stare the
entertainments of an indulgent Providence with us, and are at least allied to us by the
bond of the same common nature, must, in a few years, be swept away into utter
destruction, and be plunged, beyond redemption, into everlasting burnings.
         4. I doubt not but there are many, under the various forms of religious
profession, who are not only lamenting this in public, if their office in life calls them to
an opportunity of doing it; but are likewise mourning before God in secret, under a
sense of this sad state of things; and who can appeal to Him that searches all hearts as to
the sincerity of their desires to revive the languishing cause of vital Christianity and
substantial piety. And among the rest, the author of this treatise may with confidence
say, it is this which animates him to the present attempt, in the midst of so many other
cares and labors. For this he is willing to lay aside many of those curious amusements in
science which might suit his own private taste, and perhaps open a way for some
reputation in the learned world. For this be is willing to wave the labored ornaments of
speech, that be may, if possible, descend to the capacity of the lowest part of mankind.
For this he would endeavor to convince the judgment, and to reach the heart of every
reader: and, in a word, for this, without any dread of the name of an enthusiast,
whoever may at random throw it out upon the occasion, he would, as it were, enter
with you into your closet, from day to day; and with all plainness and freedom, as well
as seriousness, would discourse to you of the great things, which he has learned from
the Christian revelation, and on which he assuredly knows your everlasting happiness
to depend; that, if you hitherto have lived without religion, you may be now awakened
to the consideration of it, and may be instructed in its nature and importance; or that, if
you are already, through Divine grace, experimentally acquainted with it, you may be
assisted to make a farther progress.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        5. But he earnestly entreats this favor of you that, as it is plainly a serious
business we are entering upon, you would be pleased to give him a serious and an
active hearing. He entreats that these addresses, and these meditations, may be perused
at leisure, and be thought over in retirement; and that you would do him and yourself
the justice to believe the representations which art here made, and the warnings which
are here given. to proceed from sincerity and love, from a heart that would not
designedly give one moment's unnecessary pain to the meanest creature on the face of
the earth, and much less to any human mind. If he be importunate, it is because he at
least imagines that there is just reason for it, and fears, lest, amidst the multitudes who
are undone by the utter neglect of religion, and among those who are greatly damaged
for want of a more resolute and constant attendance to it, this may be the case of some
into whose hands this treatise may fall.
        6. He is a barbarian, and deserves not to be called a man, who can look upon the
sorrows of his fellow creatures without drawing out his soul unto them and wishing, at
least, that it were in the power of his hand to help them. Surely earth would be a heaven
to that man who could go about from place to place scattering happiness wheresoever
be came, though it were only the body that he were capable of relieving, and though he
could impart nothing better than the happiness of a mortal life. But the happiness rises
in proportion to the nature and degree of the good which he imparts. Happy, are we
ready to say, were those honored servants of Christ, who, in the early days of his
church, were the benevolent and sympathizing instruments of conveying miraculous
healing to those whose cases seemed desperate; who poured in upon the blind and the
deaf the pleasures of light and sound, and called up the dead to the flowers of action
and enjoyment. But this is an honor and happiness which it is not fit for God commonly
to bestow on mortal men. Yet there have been, in every age, and blessed be his name,
there still are those whom he has condescended to make his instruments in conveying
nobler and more lasting blessings than these to their fellow-creatures. Death has long
since veiled the eyes and stopped she ears of those who were the subjects of miraculous
healing, and recovered its empire over those who were once recalled from the grave.
But the souls who are prevailed upon to receive the Gospel, live for ever. God has
owned the labors of his faithful ministers in every age to produce these blessed effects;
and some of them “being dead, yet speak” (Heb. 11:4) with power and success in this
important cause. Wonder not then, if, living and dying I be ambitions of this honor; and
if my mouth be freely opened, where I can truly say, “my heart is enlarged.” (2 Cor.
        7. In forming my general plan, I have been solicitous that this little treatise might,
if possible, be useful to all its readers, and contain something suitable to each. I will
therefore take the man and the Christian in a great variety of circumstances. I will first
suppose myself addressing one of the vast number of thoughtless creatures who have
hitherto been utterly unconcerned about religion, and will try what can be done, by all
plainness and earnestness of address, to awaken him from this fatal lethargy, to a care
(chap. 2), an affectionate and an immediate care about it (chap. 3). I will labor to fix a
deep and awful conviction of guilt upon his conscience (chap. 4), and to strip him of his
vain excuses and his flattering hopes (chap. 5). I will read to him, O! that I could fix on
his heart that sentence, that dreadful sentence, which a righteous and an Almighty God
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

hath denounced against him as a sinner (chap. 6), and endeavor to show him in how
helpless a state he lies under this condemnation, as to any capacity he has of delivering
himself (chap 7). But I do not mean to leave any in so terrible a situation: I will joyfully
proclaim the glad tidings of pardon and salvation by Christ Jesus our Lord, which is all
the support and confidence of my own soul (chap. 8). And then I will give some general
view of the way by which this salvation is to be obtained (chap. 9); urging the sinner to
accept of it as affectionately as I can (chap. 10); though not thing can be sufficiently
pathetic, where, as sin this matter, the life of an immortal soul is in question.
        8. Too probable it is that some will, after all this, remain insensible; and therefore
that their sad case may not encumber the following articles, I shall here take a solemn
leave of them (chap. 11); and then shall turn and address myself as compassionately as I
can, to a most contrary character; I mean, to a soul overwhelmed with a sense of the
greatness of its sins, and trembling under the burden, as if there were no more hope for
him in God (chap. 12). And that nothing may be omitted which may give solid peace to
the troubled spirit, I shall endeavor to guide its inquiries as to the evidences of sincere
repentance and faith (chap. 13); which will be farther illustrated by a more particular
view of the several branches of the Christian temper, such as may serve at once to assist
the reader in judging whit he is, and to show him what he should labor to be (chap. 14).
This will naturally lead to a view of the need we have of the influences of the blessed
Spirit to assist us in the important and difficult work of the true Christian, and of the
encouragement we have to hope for such divine assistance (chap. 15). In an humble
dependence on which, I shall then enter on the consideration of several cases which
often occur in the Christian life, in which particular addresses to the conscience may be
requisite and useful.
        9. As some peculiar difficulties and discouragements attend the first entrance on
a religious course, it will here be our first care to animate the young convert against
them (chap. 16). And that it may be done more effectually, I shall urge a solemn
dedication of himself to God (chap. 17), to be confirmed by entering into a communion
of the church, and an approach to the sacred table (chap. 18). That these engagements
may be more happily fulfilled, we shall endeavor to draw a more particular plan of that
devout, regular and accurate course, which ought daily to be attended to (chap. 19).
And because the idea will probably rise so much higher than what is the general
practice, even of good men, we shall endeavor to persuade the reader to make the
attempt, hard as it may seem (chap. 20); and shall caution him against various
temptations, which might otherwise draw him aside to negligence and sin (chap.21).
        10. Happy will it be for the reader, if these exhortations and cautions be attended
to with becoming regard; but as it is, alas! too probable that, notwithstanding all, the
infirmities of nature will sometimes prevail, we shall consider the case of deadness and
languor in religion, which often steals upon us by sensible degrees (chap. 22); from
whence there is too easy a passage to that terrible one of a return into known and
deliberate sin (chap. 23). And as the one or the other of these tends in a proportionable
degree to provoke the blessed God to hide his face, and his injured Spirit to withdraw,
that melancholy condition will be taken into particular survey (chap. 24). I shall then
take notice also of the case of great and heavy afflictions in life (chap. 25), a discipline
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

which the best of men have reason to expect, especially when they backslide from God
and yield to their spiritual enemies.
        11. Instances of this kind will, I fear, be too frequent; yet, I trust, there will be
many others, whose path, like the dawning light, will “shine more and more unto the
perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18) And therefore we shall endeavor, in the best manner we can,
to assist the Christian in passing a true judgment on the growth of grace in his heart
(chap. 26), as we had done before in judging of its sincerity. And as nothing conduces
more to the advancement of grace than the lively exercise of love to God, and a holy joy
in him, we shall here remind the real Christian of those mercies which tend to excite
that love and joy (chap. 27); and in the view of them to animate him to those vigorous
efforts of usefulness in life, which so well become his character, and will have so happy
an efficacy in brightening his crown (chap. 28). Supposing him to act accordingly, we
shall then labor to illustrate and assist the delight with which he may look forward to
the awful solemnities of death and judgment (chap. 29). And shall close the scene by
accompanying him, as it were, to the nearest confines of that dark valley through which
he is to pass to glory; giving him such directions as may seem most subservient to his
honoring God and adorning religion by his dying behavior (chap. 30). Nor am I without
a pleasing hope, that, through the Divine blessing and grace, I may be, in some
instances, so successful as to leave those triumphing in the views of judgment and
eternity, and glorifying God by a truly Christian life and death, whom I found
trembling in the apprehensions of future misery; or, perhaps, in a much more
dangerous and miserable condition than that I mean, entirely forgetting the prospect,
and sunk in the most stupid insensibility of those things, for an attendance to which the
human mind was formed, and in comparison of which all the pursuits of this transitory
life are emptier than wind and lighter than a feather.
        12. Such a variety of heads must, to be sure, be handled but briefly, as we intend
to bring them within the bulk of a moderate volume. I shall not, therefore, discuss them
as a preacher might properly do in sermons, in which the truths of religion are
professedly to be explained and taught, defended and improved, in a wide variety, and
long detail of propositions, arguments, objections, replies, and inferences, marshalled
and numbered under their distinct generals. I shall here speak in a looser and freer
manner, as a friend to a friend; just as I would do if I were to be in person admitted to a
private audience by one whom I tenderly loved, and whose circumstances and
character I knew to be like that which the title of one chapter or another of this treatise
describes. And when I have discoursed with him a little while, which will seldom be so
long as half an hour, shill, as it were, step aside, and leave him to meditate on what he
has heard, or endeavor to assist him in such fervent addresses to God as it may be
proper to mingle with those meditations. In the mean time, I will here take the liberty to
pray over my reader and my work, and to commend it solemnly to the Divine blessing,
in token of my deep conviction of an entire dependence upon it. And I am well
persuaded that sentiments like these are common, in the general, to every faithful
minister to every real Christian.

     A Prayer for the Success of this Work, in promoting the Rise and Progress of Religion.
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        “O thou great eternal Original, and Author of all created being and happiness! I
adore thee, who hast made man a creature capable of religion, and host bestowed this
dignity and felicity upon our nature, that it may be taught to say, Where is God our
maker? (Job 35:10) I lament that degeneracy spread over the whole human race, which
has “turned our glory into shame,” (Hos. 4:7) and has rendered the forgetfulness of
God, unnatural as it is, so common and so universal a disease. Holy Father, We know it
is thy presence, and thy teaching alone, that can reclaim thy wandering children, can
impress a sense of Divine things on the heart, and render that sense listing and
effectual. From thee proceed all goon purposes and desires; and this desire, above all, of
diffusing wisdom, piety, and happiness in this world. which (though sunk in such deep
apostacy) thine infinite mercy has not utterly forsaken.
        “Thou ‘knowest, O Lord, the hearts of the children of men;’ (2 Chron. 6:30) and
an upright soul, in the midst of all the censures and suspicions it may meet with,
rejoices in thine intimate knowledge of its most secret sentiments and principles of
action. Thou knowest the sincerity and fervency with which thine unworthy servant
desires to spread the knowledge of thy name, and the savor of thy Gospel, among all to
whom this work may reach. Thou knowest that hadst thou given him an abundance of
this world, it would have been, in his esteem, the noblest pleasure that abundance could
have afforded to have been thine almoner in distributing thy bounties to the indigent
and necessitous, and so causing the sorrowful heart to rejoice in thy goodness,
dispensed through his hands. Thou knowest, that, hadst thou given him, either by
ordinary or extraordinary methods, the gift of healing, it would have been his daily
delight to relieve the pains, the maladies, and the infirmities of men's bodies; to have
seen the languishing countenance brightened by returning health and cheerfulness; and
much more to have beheld the roving, distracted mind reduced to calmness and
serenity in the exercise of its rational faculties. Yet happier, far happier wilt he think
himself, in those humble circumstances in which thy providence hath placed him, if
thou vouchsafe to honor these his feeble endeavors as the means of a relieving and
enriching men's minds; of recovering them from the madness of a sinful state, and
bringing back thy reasonable creatures to the knowledge, the service, and the
enjoyment of their God; or of improving those who are already reduced.
        “O may it have that blessed influence on the person, whosoever he be, that is
now reading these lines, and all who may read or hear them! Let not my Lord be angry
if I presume to ask, that, however weak and contemptible this work may seem in the
eyes of the children of this world, and however imperfect it really be, as well as the
author of it unworthy, it may nevertheless live before thee; and, through a divine
power, be mighty to produce the rise and progress of religion in the minds of
multitudes in distant places, and in generations yet to come! Impute it not, O God, as a
culpable ambition, if I desire that, whatever becomes of my name, about which I wou1d
not lose one thought before thee, this work, to which I am now applying myself in thy
strength, may be completed and propagated far abroad: that it may reach to those that
are yet unborn, and teach them thy name and thy praise, when the author has long
dwelt in the dust; that so, when he shall appear before thee in the great day of final
account, his joy may be increased, and his crown brightened, by numbers before
unknown to each other, and to him! But if this petition be too great to be granted to one
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

who pretends no claim but thy sovereign grace to hope for being favored with the least,
give him to be, in thine Almighty hand, the blessed instrument of converting and
saving one soul; and if it be but one, and that the weakest and meanest of those who are
capable or receiving this address, it shall be most thankfully accepted as a rich
recompense for all the thought and labor it may cost; and though it should be amidst a
thousand disappointments with respect to others, yet it shall be the subject of immortal
songs of praise to thee, O blessed God, for and by every soul whom, through the blood
of Jesus and the grace of thy Spirit, thou hast saved; and everlasting honors shall be
ascribed to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, by the innumerable
company of angels, and by the general assembly and church of the first-born in heaven.

                                        CHAPTER II.

                         THE CARELESS SINNER AWAKENED.

   1.2. It is too supposable a case that this Treatise may come into such hands.—3. 4. Since
   many, not grossly vicious, fail under that character.—5. 6. A more particular illustration
   of this case, with an appeal to the reader, whether it be not his own.—7 to 9.
   Expostulation with such.—10 to 12. More particularly—From acknowledged principles
   relating to the Nature of Got, his universal presence, agency, and perfection.—13. From
   a view of personal obligations to him.—14. From the danger Of this neglect, when
   considered in its aspect on a future state.—15. An appeal to the conscience as already
   convinced.—16. Transition to the subject of the next chapter. The meditation of a sinner,
   who, having been long thoughtless, begins to be awakened.

1. SHAMEFULLY and fatally as religion is neglected in the world, yet, blessed be God,
it has some sincere disciples, children of wisdom, by whom even in this foolish and
degenerate age, it “is justified:” (Matt. 9:18) who having, by Divine grace, been brought
to the knowledge of God in Christ, have faithfully devoted their hearts to him, and, by a
natural consequence, are devoting their lives to his service. Could I be sure this Treatise
would fall into no hands but theirs, my work would be shorter, easier and more
        2. But among the thousands that neglect religion, it is more than probable that
some of my readers may be included; and I am so deeply affected with their unhappy
ease, that the temper of my heart, as well as the proper method of my subject, leads me,
in the first place, to address myself to such: to apply to every one of them; and therefore
to you, O reader, whoever you are, who may come under the denomination of a
careless sinner.
        3. Be not, I beseech you angry at the name. The physicians of souls must speak
plainly, or they may murder those whom they should cure I would make no harsh and
unreasonable supposition. I would charge you with nothing more than is absolutely
necessary to convince you that you are the person to whom I speak. I will not, therefore,
imagine you to be a profane and abandoned profligate. I will not suppose that you
                                         OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

allow yourself to blaspheme God, to dishonour his name by customary swearing, or
grossly to violate his Sabbath, or commonly to neglect the solemnities of his public
worship; I will not imagine that you have injured your neighbors, in their lives, their
chastity, or their possessions, either by violence or by fraud; or that you have
scandalously debased the rational nature of man, by that vile intemperance which
transforms us into the worst kind of brutes, or something beneath them.
        4. In opposition to all this, I will suppose that you believe the existence and
providence of God, and the truth of Christianity as a revelation from him: of which, if
you have any doubt, I must desire that you would immediately seek your satisfaction
elsewhere*." I say immediately; because not to believe it, is in effect to disbelieve it; and
will make your ruin equally certain, though perhaps it may leave it less aggravated
than if contempt and opposition had been added to suspicion and neglect. But
supposing you to be a nominal Christian, and not a deist or a skeptic, I wilt also
suppose your conduct among men to be not only blameless, but amiable; and that they
who know you most intimately, must acknowledge that you are just and sober, humane
and courteous, compassionate and liberal; yet, with all this, you may “lack that one
thing” (Mark 10: 21) on which your eternal happiness depends.
        5. I beseech you, reader, whoever you are, that you would now look seriously
into your own heart, and ask it this one plain question; Am I truly religious? Is the love
of God the governing principle of my life? Do I walk under the sense of his presence?
Do I converse with him from day to day, in the exercise of prayer and praise? And am I,
on the whole, making his service my business and my delight, regarding him as my
master and my father?
        6. It is my present business only to address myself to the person whose
conscience answers in the negative. And I would address, with equal plainness and
equal freedom, to high and low, to rich and poor: to you, who, as the Scripture with a
dreadful propriety expresses it, “live without God in the world!” (Eph. 2:12) and while
in words and forms you “own God, deny him in your actions,” (Tit. 1:16) and behave
yourselves in the main, a few external ceremonies only excepted, just as you would do
if you believed and were sure there is no God. Unhappy creature, whoever you are!
your own heart condemns you immediately! and how much more that “God who is
greater than your heart, and knoweth all things.” (I John 3:20) He is in “secret,” (Matt.
6:6) as well as in and words cannot express the delight with which his children converse
with him alone: but in secret you acknowledge him not: you neither pray to him, nor
praise him in your retirements. Accounts, correspondences studies, may often bring you
into your closet; but if nothing but devotion were to be transacted there, it would be to
you quite an unfrequented place. And thus you go on from day to day in a continual
forgetfulness of God, and are as thoughtless about religion as if you had long since
demonstrated to yourself that it was a mere dream. If, indeed, you are sick, you will
perhaps cry to God for health in any extreme danger you will lift up your eyes and
voice for deliverance but as for the pardon of sin, and the other blessings of the Gospel,

*Insuch a case, I beg leave to refer the reader to my three sermons on the Evidence of Christianity, and the
last of the ten on the Power and Grace of Christ; in which he may see the hitherto unshaken foundations
of my own faith, in a short and I hope a clear view.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

you are not at all inwardly solicitous about them; though you profess to believe that the
Gospel is divine, and the blessings of it eternal. All your thoughts, and all your hours
are divided between the business and the amusements of life; and if now and then an
awful providence or a serious sermon or book awakens you, it is but a few days, or it
may be a few hours, and you are the same careless creature you ever were before. On
the whole, you act as if you were resolved to put it to the venture, and at your own
expense to make the experiment, whether the consequences of neglecting religion be
indeed as terrible as its ministers and friends have represented. Their remonstrances do
indeed sometimes force themselves upon you, as (considering the age and country in
which you live), it is hardly possible entirely to avoid them; but you have, it may be,
found out the art of Isaiah's people, “hearing to hear, and not understand; and seeing to
see, and not perceive your heart is waxed gross, your eyes are closed, and your ears
heavy.” (Isa. 6:9,10) Under the very ordinances of worship your thoughts “are at the
ends of the earth.” (Prov. 17:24) Every amusement of the imagination is welcome, if it
may but lead away your mind from so insipid and so disagreeable a subject as religion.
And probably the very last time you were in a worshipping assembly, you managed
just as you would have done if you had thought God knew nothing of your behavior, or
as if you did not think it worth one single care whether he were pleased or displeased
with it.
        7. Alas! is it then come to this, with all your belief of God, and providence and
Scripture, that religion is not worth a thought? That it is not worth one hour's serious
consideration and reflection, “what God and Christ are, and what you yourselves are,
and what you must hereafter be?” Where then are your rational faculties? How are they
employed, or rather how are they stupefied and benumbed?
        8. The certainty and importance of the things of which I speak are so evident,
from the principles which you yourselves grant, that one might almost set a child or an
idiot to reason upon them. And yet they are neglected by those who are grown up to
understanding; and perhaps some of them to such refinement of understanding that
they would think themselves greatly injured if they were not to be reckoned among the
politer and more learned pan of mankind.
        9. But it is not your neglect, sirs, that can destroy the being or importance of such
things as these. It may indeed destroy you, but it cannot in the least affect them. Permit
me, therefore, having been my-self awakened, to come to each of you, and say, as the
mariners did to Jonah while asleep in the midst of a much less dangerous storm, “What
meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise and call upon thy God.” (Jonah 1:6) Do you doubt as to
the reasonableness or necessity of doing it? “I will demand, and answer me;” (Job 38:3)
answer me to your own conscience, as one that must, ere long, render another kind of
        10. You own that there is a God, and well you may, for you cannot open your
eyes but you must see the evident proofs of his being, his presence, and his agency. You
behold him around you in every object. You feel him within you, if I may so speak, in
every vein and in every nerve. You see and you feel not only that he hath formed you
with an exquisite wisdom which no mortal man could ever fully explain or
comprehend, but that he is continually near you, wherever you are, and however you
are employed, by day or by night; “in hint you live, and move, and have your being.”
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

(Acts 17:28) Common sense will tell you that it is not your own wisdom, and power,
and attention that causes your heart to beat and your blood to circulate; that draws in
and sends out that breath of life, that precarious breath of a most uncertain life, “the is
in your nostrils.” (Isa. 2:22) These things are done when you sleep, as well as in those
waking moments when you think not of the circulation of the blood, or of the necessity
of breathing, or so much as recollect that you have a heart or lungs. Now, what is this
but the hand of God, perpetually supporting and actuating those curious machines that
he has made?
        11. Nor is this his care limited to you; but if you look all around you, far as your
view can reach, you see it extending itself on every side: and, oh! how much farther
than you can trace it! Reflect on the light and heat which the sun every where dispenses;
on the air which surrounds all our globe; on the right temperature on which the life of
the whole human race depends, and that of all the inferior creatures which dwell on the
earth. Think on the suitable and plentiful provisions made for man and beast; the grass,
the grain, the variety of fruits, and herbs, and flowers; every thing that nourishes us,
every thing that delights us, and say whether it does not speak plainly and loudly that
our Almighty Maker is near, and that he is careful or us, and kind to us. And while all
these things proclaim his goodness, do not they also proclaim his power? For what
power has any thing comparable to that which furnishes out those gifts of royal bounty;
and which, unwearied and unchanged, produces continually, from day to day, and
from age to age, such astonishing and magnificent effects over the face of the whole
earth, and through all the regions of heaven?
        12. It is then evident that God is present, present with you at this moment; even
God your creator and preserver, God the creator and preserver of the whole visible and
invisible world. And is he not present as a most observant and attentive being? “He that
formed the eye, shall not he see? He that planted the ear, shall not he hear? He that
teaches man knowledge,” that gives him his rational faculties, and pours in upon his
opening mind all the light it receives by them, “shall not he know?” (Psal. 94:9,10) He
who sees all the necessities of his creatures so seasonably to provide for them, shall be
not see their actions too; and seeing, shall he not judge them? Has he given us a sense
and discrimination of what is good and evil, of what is true and false, of what is fair and
deformed in temper and con duct; and has he himself no discernment of these things?
Trifle not with your conscience, which tells you at once that he judges of it, and
approves or condemns as it is decent or indecent, reasonable or flu-reasonable; and that
the judgment which he passes is of infinite importance to all his creatures.
        13. And now to apply all this to your own case; let me seriously ask you, is it a
decent and reasonable thing, that this great and glorious Benefactor should be neglected
by his rational creatures—by those that are capable of attaining to some knowledge of
him, and presenting to him some homage? Is it decent and reasonable that he should be
forgotten and neglected by you? Are you alone, of all the works or his hands, forgotten
or neglected by him? O sinner, thoughtless as you are, you cannot dare to say that, or
even to think it. You need not go back to the he1pless days of your infancy and
childhood to convince you of the contrary. You need not, in order to this, recollect the
remarkable deliverances which perhaps were wrought out for you many years ago. The
repose of the last night, the refreshment and comfort you have received this day; yea,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

the mercies you are receiving this very moment bear witness to him; and yet you regard
him not ungrateful creature that you are! Could you have treated any human benefactor
thus? Could you have borne to neglect a kind parent, or any generous friend, that had
but for a few months acted the part of a parent to you; to have taken no notice of him
while in his presence; to have returned him no thanks; to have had no contrivances to
make some little acknowledgment for all his goodness? Human nature, bad as it is, is
not fallen so low. Nay, the brutal nature is not so low as this. Surely every domestic
animal around you must shame such ingratitude. If you do but for a few days take a
little kind notice of a dog, and feed him with the refuse of your table, he will wait upon
you, and love to be near you; he will be eager to follow you from place to place, and
when, after a little absence you return home, will try, by a thousand fond, transported
motions, to tell you how much he rejoices to see you again. Nay, brutes far less
sagacious and apprehensive have some sense of our kindness, and express it after their
way: as the blessed God condescends to observe, in this very view in which I mention it,
“The” dull “ox knows his owner, and the” stupid “ass his master's crib.” (Isa. 1: 3) What
lamentable degeneracy therefore is it, that you do not know-that you, who have been
numbered among God's professed people, do not and will not consider your
numberless obligations to him.
         14. Surely, if you have any ingenuousness of temper, you must be ashamed and
grieved in the review; but if you have not, give me leave farther to expostulate with you
on this head, by setting it in something of a different light. Can you think your-self safe,
while you are acting a part like this? Do you not in your conscience believe there will be
a future judgment? Do you not believe there is an invisible and eternal world? As
professed Christians, we all believe it; for it is no controverted point, but displayed in
Scripture with so clear an evidence, that, subtle and ingenious as men are in error, they
have riot yet found out a way to evade it. And believing this, do you not see, that, while
you are thus wandering from God, “destruction and misery are in your way?” (Rom.
3:16) Will this indolence and negligence of temper be any security to you? Will it guard
you from death? Will it excuse you from judgment? You might much more reasonably
expect that shutting your eyes would be a defence against the rage of a devouring lion;
or that looking another way should secure your body from being pierced by a bullet or
a sword; When God speaks of the extravagant folly of some thoughtless creatures who
would hearken to no admonition now he adds, in a very awful manner, “In the latter
day they shall consider it perfectly.” (Jer. 23:20) And is not this applicable to you? Must
you not sooner or later be brought to think of these things, whether you wilt or not!
And in the mean time do you not certainly know that timely and serious reflection
upon them is, through divine grace, the only way to prevent your ruin!
         15. Yes, sinner, I need not multiply words on a subject like this. Your conscience
is already inwardly convinced, though your pride maybe unwilling to own it. And to
prove it, let me ask you one question more: Would you, upon any terms and
considerations whatever, come to a resolution absolutely to dismiss all farther thought
of religion, and all care about it, from this day and hour, and to abide the consequences
of that neglect? I believe hardly any man living would be bold enough to determine
upon this. I believe most of my readers would be ready to tremble at the thought of it.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

       16. But if it be necessary to take these things into consideration at all, it is
necessary to do it quickly; for life itself is not so very long nor so certain, that a wise
man should risk much upon its continuance. And I hope to convince you when I have
another hearing, that it is necessary to do it immediately, and that next to the madness
of resolving you will not think of religion at all, is that of saying you will think of it
hereafter. In the meantime, pause art the hints which have been already given, and they
will prepare you to receive what is to be added on that head.

       The Meditation of a Sinner who was once thoughtless, but begins to be awakened.

        “Awake, O my forgetful soul, awake from these wandering dreams. Turn thee
from this chase of vanity, and for a little while be persuaded, by all these
considerations, to look forward, and to look upward, at least for a few moments.
Sufficient are the hours and days given to the labors and amusements of life. Grudge
not a short allotment of minutes, to view thyself and thine own more immediate
concerns: to reflect who and what thou art, how it comes to pass that thou art here, and
what thou must quickly be!
        “It is indeed as thou hast seen it now represented. O my soul! thou art the
creature of God, formed and furnished by him, and lodged in a body which he
provided, and which he supports; a body in which he intends thee only a transitory
abode. O! think how soon this ‘tabernacle’ must be ‘dissolved,’ (2 Cor. 5:1) and thou
must ‘return to God.’ (Eccl. 12:7) And shall He, the One, Infinite, Eternal, Ever-blessed,
and Ever-glorious Being, shall He be least of all regarded by thee? Wilt thou live and
die with this character, saying, by every action of every day, unto God, ‘Depart from
me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways?’ (Job 21:14) The morning, the day, the
evening, the night, every period of time has its excuses for this neglect. But O! my soul,
what will these excuses appear when examined by his penetrating eye! They may
delude me, but they cannot impose upon him.
        “O thou injured, neglected, provoked Benefactor! when I think but for a moment
or two of all thy greatness and of all thy goodness, I am astonished at this insensibility
which has prevailed in my heart, and even still prevails; I ‘blush and am confounded to
lift up my face before thee.’ (Ezra 9:6) On the most transient review, I ‘see that I have
played the fool,’ that ‘I have erred exceedingly.’ (I Sam. 26:21) And yet this stupid heart
of mine would make its having neglected thee so long a reason for going on to neglect
thee. I own it might justly be expected, that, with regard to thee, every one of thy
rational creatures should be all duty and love; that each heart should be full of a sense
of thy presence; and that a care to please thee should swallow up every other care. Yet
thou ‘hast not been in all my thoughts;’ (Psa. 10:4) and religion, the end and glory of my
nature, has been so strangely overlooked, that I have hardly ever seriously asked my
own heart what it is. I know, if matters rest here, I perish; yet I feel in my perverse
nature a secret indisposition to pursue these thoughts; a proneness, if not entirely to
dismiss them, yet to lay them aside side for the present. My mind is perplexed and
divided; but I am sure, thou, who madest me, knowest what is best for me. I therefore
beseech thee that thou wilt, ‘for thy name's sake, lead me and guide me.’ (Psa. 31:3) Let
me not delay till it is for ever too late. ‘Pluck me as a brand out of the burning!’ (Amos
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

4:11) O break this fatal enchantment that holds down my affection to objects which my
judgment comparatively despises! and let me, at length, come into so happy a state of
mind that I may not be afraid to think of thee and of myself, and may not be tempted to
wish that thou hadst not made me, or that thou couldst for ever forget me; that it may
not he my best hope, to perish like the brutes.
         “If what I shall farther read here be agreeable to truth and reason, if it be
calculated to promote my happiness, and is to be regarded as an intimation of thy will
and pleasure to me, O God, let me hear and obey! Let the words of thy servant, when
pleading thy cause, be like goads to pierce into my mind! and let me rather feel, and
smart, than die! Let them be ‘as nails fastened in a sure place;’ (Eccl. 12:4) that whatever
mysteries as yet unknown, or whatever difficulties there be in religion, if it be
necessary, I may not finally neglect it; and that, if it be expedient to attend immediately
to it, I may no longer delay that attendance! And, O! let thy grace teach me the lesson I
am so slow to learn and conquer that strong opposition which I feel in my heart against
the very thought of it! Hear these broken cries, for the sake of thy Son, who has taught
and saved many a creature as untractable as I, and can ‘out of stones raise up children
unto Abraham!’ (Matt. 3:9) Amen."
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                      CHAPTER III.

                    CAUTIONED AGAINST DELAY.

   1. Sinners, when awakened, inclined to dismiss convictions for the present.—2. An
   immediate regard to religion urged.—3. From the excellence and pleasure of the thing
   itself.—4. From the uncertainty of that future time on which sinners presume, compared
   with the sad consequences of being cut off in sin.—5. From the immutability of God's
   present demands.—6. From the tendency which delay has to make a compliance with
   these demands more difficult than it is at present.—7. From. the danger of God's
   withdrawing his Spirit, compared with the dreadful case of a sinner given up by it.—8.
   Which probably is now the case of many.—9. Since, therefore, on the whole, whatever
   ever the event be, delays may prove matter of lamentation.—10. The chapter concludes
   with an exhortation against yielding to them; and a prayer against temptations of that

1. I HOPE my last address so far awakened the convictions of my reader, as to bring
him to this purpose, “that some time or other he would attend to religious
considerations.” But give me leave to ask, earnestly and pointedly, When shall that be?
“Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season I will call for thee,” (Acts
24:25) was the language and ruin of unhappy Felix, when he trembled under the
reasonings and expostulations of the apostle. The tempter presumed not to urge that he
should give up all thoughts of repentance and reformation; but only that, considering
the present hurry of his affairs, (as no doubt they were many) he should defer it to
another day. The artifice succeeded; and Felix was undone.
        2. Will you, render, dismiss me thus? For your own sake, and out of tender
compassion to your perishing, immortal soul, I would not willingly take up with such a
dismission and excuse—no, not though you shall fix a time; though you shall determine
on the next year, or month, or week, or day. I would turn upon you, with all the
eagerness and tenderness of friendly importunity, and entreat you to bring the matter
to an issue even now. For if you say, “I will think on these things tomorrow,” I shall
have little hope; and shall conclude that all that I have hitherto urged, and all that you
have read, has been offered and viewed in vain.
        3. When I invite you to the care and practice of religion, it may seem strange that
it should be necessary for me affectionately to plead the cause with you, in order to
your immediate regard and compliance. What I am inviting you to is so noble and
excellent in itself, so well worthy of the dignity of our rational nature so suitable to it, so
manly and so wise, that one would imagine you should take fire, as it were, at the first
hearing of it; yea, that so delightful a view should presently possess your whole soul
with a kind of indignation against your-self that you pursued it no sooner. “May I lift
up my eyes and my soul to God! May I devote my-self to him! May I even now
commence a friendship with him—a friendship which shall last for ever, the security,
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

the delight, the glory of this immortal nature of mine! And shall I draw back and say,
Nevertheless, let me not commence this friendship too soon: let me live at least a few
weeks or a few days longer without God in the world?” Surely it would be much more
reasonable to turn inward, and say, “O my soul, on what vile husks hast thou been
feeding, while thy Heavenly Father has been forsaken and injured? Shall I desire to
multiply the days of my poverty, my scandal, and my misery?” On this principle, surely
an immediate return to God should in all reason be chosen, rather than to play the fool
any longer, and go on a little more to displease God, and thereby starve and wound
your own soul! even though your continuance in life were ever so certain, and your
capacity to return to God and your duty ever so entirely in your power, now, and in
every future moment, through scores of years yet to come.
       4. But who and what are you, that you should lay your account for years or for
months to come? “What is your life? Is not even as a vapor, that appeareth for a little
time, and then vanisheth away?” (Jam. 4:14) And what is your security, or what is your
peculiar warrant, that you should thus depend upon the certainty of its continuance,
and that so absolutely as to venture, as it were, to pawn your soul upon it? Why, you
will perhaps say, “I am young, and in all my bloom and vigor; I see hundreds about me
who are more than double my age, and not a few of them who seem to think it too soon
to attend to religion yet.”
       You view the living, and you talk thus. But I beseech you, think of the dead.
Return, in your thoughts, to those graves in which you have left some of your young
companions and your friends. You saw them awhile ago gay and active, warm with life,
and hopes, and schemes. And some of them would have thought a friend strangely
importunate that should have interrupted them in their business and their pleasures,
with a solemn lecture on death and eternity. Yet they were then on the very borders of
both. You have since seen their corpses, or at least their coffins, and probably carried
about with you the badges of mourning which you received at their funerals. Those
once vigorous, and perhaps beautiful bodies of theirs, now lie moldering in the dust, as
senseless and helpless as the most decrepit pieces of human nature which fourscore
years ever brought down to it. And, what is infinitely more to be regarded, their souls,
whether prepared for this great change, or thoughtless of it, have made their
appearance before God, and are at this moment fixed, either in heaven or in hell. Now
let me seriously ask you, would it be miraculous. Or would it be strange, if such an
event should befall you? How are you sure that some fatal disease will not this day
begin to work in your veins? How are you sure that you shall ever be capable of
reading or thinking any more, if you do not attend to what you now read, and pursue
the thought which is now offering itself to your mind? This sudden alteration may at
least possibly happen; and if it does, it will be to you a terrible one indeed. To be thus
surprised into the presence of a forgotten God; to be torn away, at once, from a world to
which your whole heart and soul has been riveted—a world which has engrossed all
your thoughts and cares, all your desires and pursuits; and be fixed in a state which you
never could be so far persuaded to think of, as to spend so much as one hour in serious
preparation for it: how must you even shudder at the apprehension of it, and with what
horror must it fill you? It seems matter of wonder that in such circumstances you are
not almost distracted with the thoughts of the uncertainty of life, and are not even ready
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

to die for fear of death. To trifle with God any longer, after so solemn an admonition as
this, would be a circumstance of additional provocation, which, after all the rest, might
be fatal; nor is there any thing you can expect in such a case, but that he should cut you
off immediately, and teach other thoughtless creatures, by your ruin, what a hazardous
experiment they make when they act as you are acting.
         5. And will you, after all, run this desperate risk? For what imaginable purpose
can you do it? Do you think the business of religion will become less necessary or more
easy by your delay? You know that it will not. You know, that whatever the blessed
God demands now, he will also demand twenty or thirty years hence, if you should live
to see the time. God has fixed his method, in which he will pardon and accept sinners in
his Gospel. And will he ever alter that method? Or if he will not, can men alter it? You
like not to think of repenting and humbling yourself before God, to receive
righteousness and life from his free grace in Christ; and you, above all, dislike the
thought of returning to God in the ways of holy obedience. But will lie ever dispense
with any of these, and publish a new Gospel, with promises of life and salvation to
impenitent unbelieving sinners, if they will but call themselves Christians, and submit
to a few external rites? How long do you think you might wait for such a change in the
constitution of things? You know death will come upon you, and you cannot but know,
in your own conscience, that a general dissolution will come upon the world long
before God can thus deny himself, and contradict all his perfections and all his
         6. Or if his demands continue the same, as they assuredly will, do you think any
thing which is now disagreeable to you in them, will be less disagreeable hereafter than
it is at present? Shall you love to sin less, when it becomes more habitual to you, and
when your conscience is yet more enfeebled arid debauched? If you are running with
the footmen and fainting, shall you be able “to contend with the horsemen?” (Jer. 12:5)
Surely you cannot imagine it. You will not say, in any distemper which threatened your
life, “I will stay till I grow a little worse, and then I will apply to a physician: I will let
my disease get a little more rooting in my vitals, and then I will try what can be done to
remove it.” No, it is only where the life of the soul is concerned that men think thus
wildly: the life and health of the body appear too precious to be thus trifled away.
         7. If; after such desperate experiments, you are ever recovered, it must be by an
operation of Divine grace on your soul yet more powerful and more wonderful in
proportion to the increasing inveteracy of your spiritual maladies. And can you expect
that the Holy Spirit should be more ready to assist you, in consequence of your having
so shamefully trifled with him, and affronted him? He is now, in some measure,
moving on your heart. If you feel any secret relentings in it upon what you read, it is a
sign that you are not yet utterly forsaken. But who can tell whether these are not the last
touches he will ever give to a heart so long hardened against him? Who can tell, but
God may this day “swear, in his wrath, that you shall not enter into his rest?” (Heb.
3:18) I have been telling you that you may immediately die. You own it is possible you
may. And can you think of any thing more terrible? Yes, sinner, I will tell you of one
thing more dreadful than immediate death and immediate damnation. The blessed God
may say, “As for that wretched creature, who has so long trifled with me and provoked
me, let him still live; let him live in the midst of prosperity and plenty; let him live
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

under the purest and the most powerful ordinances of the Gospel too; that he may
abuse them to aggravate his condemnation, and die under sevenfold guilt and a
sevenfold curse. I will not give him the grace to think of his ways for one serious
moment more; but he shall go on from bad to worse, filling up the measure of his
iniquities, till death and destruction seize him in an unexpected hour, and ‘wrath come
upon him to the uttermost.’” (1 Thess. 2:16)
        8. You think this is an uncommon case; but I fear it is much otherwise. I fear
there are few congregations where the word of God has been faith-fully preached, and
where it has long been despised, especially by those whom it had once awakened, in
which the eye of God does not see a number of such wretched souls; though it is
impossible for us, in this mortal state, to pronounce upon the case who they are.
        9. I pretend not to say how he will deal with you, O reader! whether he will
immediately cut you off; or seal you up under final hardness and impenitency of heart,
or whether his grace may at length awaken you to consider your ways, and return to
him, even when your heart is grown yet more obdurate than it is at present. For to his
Almighty grace nothing is hard, not even to transform a rock of marble into a man or a
saint. But this I will confidently say, that if you delay any longer, the time will come
when you will bitterly repent of that delay, and either lament it before God in the
anguish of your heart here or curse your own folly and madness in hell, yea, when will
wish that, dreadful as hell is, you had rather fallen into it sooner, than have lived in the
midst of so many abused mercies, to render the degree of your punishment more
insupportable, and your sense of it more exquisitely tormenting.
        10. I do therefore earnestly exhort you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
by the worth, and, if I may so speak, by the blood of your immortal and perishing soul,
that you delay not a day or an hour longer. Far from “giving sleep to your eye; or
slumber to tour eyelids,” (Prov. 6:4) in the continued neglect of this important concern,
take with you, even now, “words, and turn unto the Lord;” (Hos. 14:2) and before you
quit the place where you now are, fall upon your knees in his sacred presence, and pour
out your heart in such language, or at least to some such purpose as this:

A Prayer for one who is tempted to delay applying to Religion, though under some conviction of
                                        its importance.

        “O thou righteous and holy Sovereign of heaven and earth! thou God, ‘in whose
hand my breath is, and whose are all my ways!’ (Dan. 5:23) I confess I have been far
from glorifying thee, or conducting myself according to the intimations or the
declarations of thy will. I have therefore reason to adore thy forbearance and goodness,
that thou hast not long since stopped my breath, and cut me off from the land of the
living. I adore thy patience. that I have not, months and years ago, been an inhabitant of
hell, where ten thousand delaying sinners are now lamenting their folly, and will be
lamenting it for ever. But, O God, how possible is it that this trifling heart of mine may
at length betray me into the same ruin! and then, alas! into a ruin aggravated by all this
patience and forbearance of thine! I am convinced that, sooner or later, religion must be
my serious care, or I am undone. And yet my foolish heart draws back from the yoke;
yet I stretch myself upon the bed of sloth, and cry out for ‘a little more sleep, a little
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep.’ (Prov. 6:10) Thus does my
corrupt heart plead for its own indulgence against the conviction of my better
judgment. What shall I say? O Lord, save me from myself! Save me from the artifices
and deceitfulness of sin! Save me from the treachery of this perverse and degenerate
nature of mine, and fix upon my mind what I have now been reading!
        “O Lord, I am not now instructed in truths which were before quite unknown.
Often have I been warned of the uncertainty of life, and the great uncertainty of the day
of salvation. And I have formed some light purposes, and have begun to take a few
irresolute steps in my way toward a return to thee. But, alas! I have been only, as it
were, fluttering about religion, and have never fixed upon it. All my resolutions have
been scattered like smoke, or dispersed like a cloudy vapor before the wind. O that thou
wouldst now bring these things home to my heart, with a more powerful conviction
than it hath ever yet felt? O that thou would pursue me with them, even when flee from
them! If I should even grow mad enough to endeavor to escape them any more, may
thy Spirit address me in the language of effectual terror, and add all the most powerful
methods which thou knowest to be necessary to awaken me from this lethargy, which
must otherwise be mortal! May the sound of these things be in mine ears ‘when I go
out, and when I come in, when I lie down, and when I rise up!’ (Deut. 6:7) And if the
repose of the night and the business of the day he for a while interrupted by the
impression, be it so, O God! if I may but thereby carry on my business with thee to
better purpose, and at length secure a repose in thee, instead of all that terror which I
now find when ‘I think upon God, and I am troubled.’ (Psal. 77:3)
        “O Lord, ‘my flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments.’
(Psal. 119:120) I am afraid lest, even now that I have begun to think of religion, thou
shouldst cut me off in this critical and important moment, before my thoughts grow to
any ripeness, and blast in eternal death the first buddings and openings of it in my
mind. But O spare me, I earnestly entreat thee: for thy mercies’ sake, Spare me a little
longer! It may be, through thy grace I shall return. It may be, if thou continuest thy
patience towards me while longer, there may be ‘some better fruit produced by this
cumberer of the ground.’ (Luke 13:7) And may the remembrance of that long
forbearance which thou hast already exercised towards me prevent my continuing to
trifle with thee, and with my soul! From this day, O Lord, from this hour, from this
moment, may I be able to date more lasting impressions of religion than have ever yet
been made upon my heart by all that I have ever read, or all that I have heard. Amen."
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                      CHAPTER IV.


   1. Conviction of guilt necessary.--2. A charge of rebellion against God advanced.—3.
   Where it is shown—that all men are born under God's law.—4. That no man hath
   perfectly kept it.—5. An appeal to the reader's conscience on this head, that he hath
   not.—6. That to have broken it, is an evil inexpressibly great.—7. Illustrated by a more
   particular view of the aggravations of this guilt, arising—from knowledge.—8. From
   divine favors received.—9. From convictions of conscience overborne.—10. From the
   strivings of God's Spirit resisted.—11.. From vows and resolutions broken.—12. The
   charges summed up, and left upon the sinner's conscience.—The sinner's confession
   under a general conviction of guilt.

1. AS I am attempting to lead you to true religion and not merely to some superficial
form of it, I am sensible I can do it no otherwise than in the way of deep humiliation.
And therefore supposing you are persuaded, through the divine blessing on what you
have before read, to take it into consideration, I would now endeavor, in the first place,
with all the seriousness I can, to make you heartily sensible of your guilt before God.
For I well know, that, unless you are convinced of this, and affected with the conviction,
all the provisions of Gospel grace will be slighted, and your soul infallibly destroyed, in
the midst of the noblest means appointed for its recovery. I am fully persuaded that
thousands live and die in a course of sin, without feeling upon their hearts any sense
that they are sinners, though they cannot, for shame, but own it in words. And therefore
let me deal faithfully with you, though I may seem to deal roughly; for complaisance is
not to give law to addresses in which the life of your soul is concerned.
        2. Permit me therefore, O sinner, to consider myself at this time as an advocate
for God, as one employed in his name to plead against thee and to charge thee with
nothing less than being a rebel and a traitor against the Sovereign Majesty or heaven
and earth. However thou mayest be dignified or distinguished among men; if the
noblest blood run in thy veins; if thy seat were among princes, and thine arm were “the
terror of the mighty in the land of the living,” (Ezek. 32:27) it would be necessary thou
shouldst be told plainly, thou hast broken the laws of the King of kings and by the
breach of them art become obnoxious to his righteous condemnation.
        3. Your conscience tells you that you were born the natural subject of God, born
under the indispensable obligations of his law. For it is most apparent that the
constitution of your rational nature, which makes you capable of receiving law from
God, binds you to obey it. And it is equally evident and certain that you have not
exactly obeyed this law, nay, that you have violated it in many aggravated instances.
        4. Will you dare to deny this? Will you dare to assert your innocence?
Remember, it must be a complete innocence; yea, and a perfect righteousness too, or it
can stand you in no stead, farther than to prove, that, though a condemned sinner, you
are not quite so criminal as some others, and will not have quite so hot a place in hell as
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they. And when this is considered, will you plead not guilty to the charge? Search the
records of your own conscience, for God searcheth them: ask it seriously, “Have you
never in your life sinned against God?” Solomon declared, that in his days “there was
not a just man upon earth, who did good and sinned not;” (Eccl. 7:20) and the apostle
Paul, “that all had sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) “that both
Jews and Gentiles (which you know, comprehend the whole human race) were all
under sin.” (Rom. 3:9) And can you pretend any imaginable reason to believe the world
is grown so much better since their days, that any should now plead their own case as
an exception? Or will you, however, presume to arise in the face of the omniscient
Majesty of heaven, and say, I am the man?
        5. Supposing, as before, you have been free from those gross acts of immorality
which are so pernicious to society that they have generally been punishable by human
laws; can you pretend that you have not, in smaller instances, violated the rules of
piety, of temperance, and charity? Is there any one person, who has intimately known
you, that would not be able to testify you had said or done something amiss! Or if
others could not convict you, would not your own heart do it! Does it not prove you
guilty of pride, of passion, of sensuality, of an excessive fondness of the world and its
enjoyments? of murmuring, or at least of secretly repining against God, under the
strokes of an afflictive providence; of misspending a great deal of your time; abusing
the gifts of God's bounty to vain, if not, in some instances, to pernicious purposes; of
mocking him when you have pretended to engage in his worship, “drawing near to him
with your mouth and your lips while your heart has been far front him?” (Isa. 29:13)
Does not conscience condemn you of some one breach of the law at least? And by one
breach of it you are, in a sense, a Scriptural sense, “become guilty of all,” (Jam. 2:19) and
are as incapable of being justified before God, by any obedience of your own, as if you
had committed ten thousand offences. But, in reality, there are ten thousand and more
chargeable to your account. When you come to reflect on all your sins of negligence, as
we as on those of commission; on all the instances in which you have “failed to do good
when it was in the power of your hand to do it;” (Prov. 3:27) on all the instances in
which acts of devotion have been omitted, especially in secret; and on all those cases in
which you have shown a stupid disregard to the honor of God, and to the temporal and
eternal happiness of your fellow-creatures: when all these, I say, are reviewed, the
number will swell beyond all possibility of account, and force you to cry out, “Mine
iniquities are more than the hairs of my head.” (Psal. 40:12) They will appear in such a
light before you, that your own heart will charge you with countless multitudes; and
how much more, “then, that God, who is greater than your heart, and knoweth all
things!” (1 John 3:20)
        6. And say, sinner, is it a little thing that you have presumed to set light by the
authority of the God of heaven, and to violate his law, if it had been by mere
carelessness and inattention? How much more heinous, therefore, is the guilt, when in
an many instances you hare done it knowingly and willfully! Give me leave seriously to
ask you, and let me entreat you to ask your own soul, “Against whom hast thou
magnified thyself? Against whom hast thou exalted thy voice,” (2 Kings 19:22) or “lifted
up thy rebellious hand?” On whose law, O sinner, hast thou presumed to trample? and
whose friendship, and whose enmity, hast thou thereby dared to affront! Is it a man like
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

thyself that thou host insulted? Is it only a temporal monarch—only one “who can kill
thy body, and then hath no more that he can do?” (Luke, 12:4)
        Nay, sinner, thou wouldst not have dared to treat a temporal prince as thou hast
treated the “King Eternal, Immortal,” and “Invisible.” (1 Tim. 1:17) No price could have
hired thee to deal by the majesty of an earthly sovereign, as thou bast dealt by that God
before whom the cherubim and seraphim are continually bowing. Not one opposing or
complaining, disputing or murmuring word is heard among all the celestial legions,
when the intimations of his will are published to them. And who art thou, O wretched
man! who art thou, that thou shouldst oppose him? That thou shouldst oppose and
provoke a God of infinite power and terror, who needs but exert one single act of his
sovereign will, and thou art in a moment stripped of every possession; cut off from
every hope; destroyed and rooted up from existence, if that were his pleasure; or, what
is inconceivably conceivably worse, consigned over to the severest and most lasting
agonies? Yet this is the God whom thou hast offended, whom thou hast affronted to his
nice, presuming to violate his express laws in his very presence. This is the God before
whom thou standest as a convicted criminal; convicted not of one or two particular
offenses, but of thousands and ten thousands; of a course and series of rebellion and
provocations, in which thou hast persisted more or less ever since thou want born, and
the particulars of which have been attended with almost every conceivable
circumstance of aggravation. Reflect on particulars, and deny the charge if you can.
        7. If knowledge be an aggravation of guilt, thy guilt, O sinner, is greatly
aggravated! For thou wast born in Emmanuel's land, and God hath “written to thee the
great things of his law,” yet “thou hast accounted them as a strange thing.” (Hos. 8:12)
Thou hast “known to do good, and hast not done it;” (James 4:17) and therefore to thee
the omission of it has been sin indeed. “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard?”
(Isa. 30:28) Wast thou not early taught the will of God? Hast thou not since received
repeated lessons, by which it has been inculcated again and again, in public and in
private, by preaching and reading the word of God? Nay, hath not thy duty been in
some instances so plain, that, even without any instruction it all, thine own reason
might easily have inferred at? And hast thou not also been warned of the consequences
of disobedience? Hast thou not “known the righteous judgment of God, that they who
commit such things are worthy of death?” Yet, thou hast, perhaps, “not only done the
same, but hast had pleasure in those that do them;” (Rom. 1:32) hast chosen them for
thy most intimate friends and companions; so as hereby to strengthen, by the force of
example and converse, the hands of each other in your iniquities.
        8. Nay more, if Divine love and mercy be any aggravation of the sins committed
against it, thy crimes, O sinner, are heinously aggravated. Must thou not acknowledge
it, O foolish creature and unwise! Hast thou not been “nourished and brought up by
him as his child, and yet hast rebelled against him?” (Isa. 1:2) Did not God “take you
out of the womb?” (Psal. 22:9) Did he not watch over you in your infant days, and
guard you from a multitude of dangers which the most careful parent or nurse could
not have observed or warded off? Has he not given you your rational powers? and is it
not by him you have been favored with every opportunity of improving them? Has he
not every day supplied your wants with an unwearied liberality, and added, with
respect to many who will read this, the delicacies of life to its necessary supports? Has
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

he not “heard you cry when trouble came upon you?” (Job 27:9) and frequently
appeared for your deliverance, when in the distress of nature you have called upon him
for help? Has be not rescued you from ruin, when it seemed just ready to swallow you
up; and healed your diseases, when it seemed to all about you, that the residue of your
days was cut off in the midst? (Psal. 102:24) Or, if it has not been so, is not this long-
continued and uninterrupted health, which you have enjoyed for so many years, to be
acknowledged as an equivalent obligation? Look around upon all your possessions, and
say, what one thing have you in the world which his goodness did not give you, and
which he hath not thus far preserved to you? Add to all this, the kind notice of his will
which he hath sent you; the tender expostulations which he hath used with you, to
bring you to a wiser and better temper; and the discoveries and gracious invitations of
his Gospel which you have heard, and which you have despised; and then say, whether
your rebellion has not been aggravated by the vilest ingratitude, and whether that
aggravation can be accounted small?
        9. Again, if it be any aggravation of Sin to be committed against conscience, thy
crimes, O sinner! have been so aggravated. Consult the records of it, and then dispute
the fact if you can. “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth
him understanding;” (Job 32:8) and that understanding will act, and a secret conviction
or being accountable to its Maker and Preserver is inseparable from the actings of it. It is
easy to object to human remonstrances, and to give things false colorings before him;
but the heart often condemns, while the tongue excuses. Have you not often found it
so? Has not conscience remonstrated against your past conduct, and have not these
remonstrances been very painful too! I have been assured, by a gentleman of
undoubted credit, that, when he was in the pursuit of all the gayest sensualities of life,
and was reckoned one of the happiest of mankind, he has seen a dog come into the
room where he was among his merry companions, and has groaned inwardly and said,
“O! that I had been that dog!” And hast thou, O sinner, felt nothing like this? Has thy
conscience been so stupified, so “seared with a hot iron,” (1 Tim. 4:2) that it has never
cried out for any of the violences which have been done it? Has it never warned thee of
the fatal consequences of what thou hast done in opposition to it? These warnings are,
in effect, the voice of God; they are the admonitions which he gave thee by his
vicegerent in thy breast. And when his sentence for thy evil works is executed upon
thee in everlasting death, thou shalt hear that voice speaking to thee again in a louder
tone and a severer accent than before; and thou shalt be tormented with its upbraiding
through eternity, because thou wouldst not, in time, hearken to its admonitions.
        10. Let me add farther, if it be any aggravation that sin has been committed after
God has been moving by his Spirit on the mind, surely your sin has been attended with
that aggravation too. Under the Mosaic dispensation, dark and imperfect as it was, the
Spirit strove with the Jews else Stephen could not have charged it upon them, that
through all their generations “they had always resisted him.” (Acts 7:51) Now, surely,
we may much more reasonably apprehend that he strives with sinners under the
Gospel. And have you never experienced any thing of this kind, even when there has
been no external circumstance to awaken you, nor any pious teacher near you? Have
you never perceived some secret impulse upon your mind, leading you to think of
religion, urging you to an immediate consideration or it, sweetly inviting you to make
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

trial of it, and warning you, that you would lament this stupid neglect? O sinner, why
were not these happy motions attended to? Why did you not, as it were, spread out all
the sail of your soul to catch that heavenly, that favorable breeze? But you have
carelessly neglected it: you have overborne these kind influences. How reasonably then
might the sentence have gone forth in righteous displeasure, “My Spirit shall no more
strive.” (Gen. 6:3) And indeed who can say that it is not already gone forth? If you feel
no secret agitation of mind, no remorse, no awakening while you read such a
remonstrance as this, there will be room, great room to suspect it.
        11. There is indeed one aggravation more, which may not attend your guilt—I
mean that of being committed against solemn covenant engagements: a circumstance
which has lain heavy on the consciences of many, who perhaps in the main series of
their lives have served God with great integrity. But let me call you to think to what this
is owing. Is it not that you have never personally made any solemn profession of
devoting yourself to God at all—have never done any thing which has appeared to your
own apprehension an act by which you have made a covenant with him, though you
have heard so much of his covenant, though you have been so solemnly and so tenderly
invited to it? And in this view, how monstrous must this circumstance appear, which at
first was mentioned as some alleviation of guilt! Yet I must add that you are not,
perhaps, altogether so free from guilt on this head as you may at first imagine. Has your
heart been, even from your youth, hardened to so uncommon a degree that you have
never cried to God in any season of danger and difficulty? And did you never mingle
vows with those cries? Did you never promise, that, if God would hear and help you in
that hour of extremity, you would forsake your sins, and serve him as long as you
lived? He heard and helped you, or you had not been reading these lines; and, by such
deliverance, did as it were bind down your vows upon you; and therefore your guilt, in
the violation of them, remains before him, though you are stupid enough to forget
them. Nothing is forgotten, nothing is overlooked by him; and the day will come, when
the record shall be laid before you too.
        12. And now, O sinner, think seriously with thyself what defence thou wilt make
to all this. Prepare thine apology; call thy witnesses; make thine appeal from him whom
thou hast thus offended, to some superior judge, if such there be. Alas! those apologies
are so weal: and vain, that one of thy fellow-worms may easily detect and confound
them; as I will endeavor presently to show thee. But thy foreboding conscience already
knows the issue. Thou art convicted, convicted of the most aggravated offences. Thou
“hast not humbled thine heart, but lined up thyself against the Lord of heaven,” (Dan.
5:22,23) and “thy sentence shall come forth from his presence.” (Psal. 17:2) Thou hast
violated his known laws; thou hast despised and abused his numberless mercies; thou
hast affronted conscience, his vicegerent in thy soul; thou hast resisted and grieved his
Spirit; thou hast trifled with him in all thy pretended submissions; and, in one word,
and that his own, “thou hast done evil things as thou couldst.” (Jer. 3:5) Thousands are
no doubt already in hell whose guilt never equaled thine; and it is astonishing that God
hath spared there to read this representation of thy case, or to make any pause upon it.
O waste not so precious a moment, but enter attentively, and as humbly us thou canst,
into these reflections which suit a case so lamentable and so terrible as thine.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                   Confession of a Sinner convinced in general of his Guilt.

        “O God! thou injured Sovereign, thou all-penetrating and Almighty Judge! what
shall I say to this charge! Shall I pretend I am wronged by it, and stand on the defence
in thy presence? I dare not do it; for ‘thou knowest my foolishness, and none of my sins
are hid from thee.’ Psal. 69:5) My conscience tells me that a denial of my crimes would
only increase them, and add new fuel to the fire of thy deserved wrath. ‘If I justify
myself, mine own mouth will condemn me; if I say I am perfect, it will also prove me
perverse;’ (Job 9:20) ‘for innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities
have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up: they are,’ as I have been told
in thy name, ‘more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart faileth me.’ (Psal.
40:12) I am more guilty than it is possible for another to declare or represent. My heart
speaks more than any other accuser. And thou, O Lord, art much greater than my heart,
and knowest all things. (1 John 3:20)
        “What has my life been but a course of rebellion against thee? It is not this or that
particular action alone I have to lament. Nothing has been right in its principles, and
views, and ends. My whole soul has been disordered. All my thoughts, my affections,
my desires, my pursuits have been wretchedly alienated from thee. I have acted as if I
had hated thee, who art infinitely the loveliest of all beings; as if I had been contriving
how I might tempt thee to the uttermost, and weary out thy patience, marvelous as it is.
My actions have been evil, my words yet more evil than they! and, O blessed God, my
heart, how much more corrupt than either! What an inexhausted fountain of sin has
there been in it! A fountain of original corruption, which mingled its bitter streams with
the days of early childhood; and which, alas! flows on even to this day, beyond what
actions or words could express. I see this to have, been the case with regard to what I
can particularly survey. But, oh! how many months and years have I forgotten,
concerning which I only know this in the general, that they are much like those I can
remember; except it be, that I have been growing worse and worse, and provoking thy
patience more and more, though every new exercise of it was more and more
        “And how am I astonished that thy forbearance is still continued! it is because
thou art ‘God, and not man.’ (Hos. 11:9) Had I, a sinful worm, been thus injured, I could
not have endured it. Had I been a prince, I had long since done justice on any rebel
whose crimes had borne but a distant resemblance to mine. Had I been a parent, I had
long since cast off the ungrateful child who had made me such a return as I have all my
life long been making to thee, O thou Father of my spirit! The flame of natural affection
would have been extinguished, and his sight and his very name would have become
hateful to me. Why then, O Lord, am I not ‘cast out from thy presence?’ (Jer. 52:3) Why
am I not sealed up under an irreversible sentence of destruction! That I live, I owe to
thine indulgence. But, oh! if there be yet any way of deliverance, if there be yet any
hope for so guilty a creature, may it be opened upon me by thy Gospel and thy grace!
And if any farther alarm, humiliation, or terror be necessary to my security and
salvation, may I meet them and bear them all! Wound my heart, O Lord, so that thou
wilt but afterwards ‘heal it;’ and break it in pieces, if thou wilt but at length condescend
to bind it up.” (Hos.6:1)
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                      CHAPTER V.


   1,2. The vanity of those pleas which sinners may secretly confide in, is so apparent that
   they will be ashamed at last to mention them before God.—3. Such as, that they
   descended from pious us parents.—4. That they had attended to the speculative part of
   religion.—5. That they had entertained sound notion..—6. 7. That they had expressed a
   zealous regard to religion, and attended the outward forms of worship with those they
   apprehended the purest churches.—8. That they had been free from gross
   immoralities.—9. That they did not think the consequences of neglecting religion would
   have been so fatal.— 10. That they could not do otherwise then they did.—11.
   Conclusion. With the meditation of a convinced sinner giving up his vain pleas before

1. MY last discourse left the sinner in very alarming and very pitiable circumstances; a
criminal convicted at the bar of God, disarmed of all pretences to perfect innocence and
sinless obedience, and consequently obnoxious to the sentence of a holy law, which can
make no allowance for any transgression, no not for the least; but pronounces death and
a curse against every act of disobedience: how much more then against those
numberless and aggravated acts of rebellion, of which, O sinner! thy conscience hath
condemned thee before God? I would hope Some of my readers will ingenuously fall
under the conviction, and not think of making any apology; for sure I am, that, humbly
to plead guilty at the divine bar, is the most decent, and, all things considered, the most
prudent thing that can be done in such an unhappy state. Yet I know the treachery and
the self-flattery of a sinful and corrupted heart. I know what excuses it makes, and how,
when it is driven from one refuge, it flies to another, to fortify itself against conviction,
and to persuade, not merely another, but itself, “That if it has been in some instances to
blame, it is not quite so criminal as was represented; that there are at least
considerations that plead in its favor, which, if they cannot justify, will in some degree
excuse.” A secret reserve of this kind, sometimes perhaps scarcely formed into a distinct
reflection, breaks the force of conviction, and often prevents that deep humiliation
before God which is the happiest token of approaching deliverance. I will therefore
examine into some of these particulars; and for that purpose would seriously ask thee,
O sinner! what thou hast to offer in arrest or judgment? What plea thou canst urge for
thyself; why the sentence of God should not go forth against thee, and why thou
shouldst not fall into the hands of his justice?
        2. But this I must premise, that the question is not; how wouldst thou answer to
me, a weak sinful worm like thyself, who am shortly to stand with thee at the same bar?
and “the Lord grant that I may find mercy of the Lord in that day,” (2 Tim. 1:18) but,
what wilt thou reply to thy Judge? What couldst thou plead, if thou wast now actually
before his tribunal, where, to multiply vain words, and to frame idle apologies, would
be but to increase thy guilt and provocation? Surely, the very thought of his presence
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

must supersede a thousand of those trifling excuses which now sometimes impose on
“a generation that are pure in their own eyes,” though they “are not washed from their
filthiness!” (Prov. 30:12) or while they are conscious of their impurities, “trust in words
that cannot profit,” (Jer 7:8) and “lean upon broken reeds.” (Isa. 36:6)
        3. You will not to be sure, in such a condition, plead “that you are descended
from pious parents.” That was indeed your privilege; and wo be to you that you have
abused it, and “forsaken the God of your fathers.” (2 Chron. 7:22) Ishmael was
immediately descended from Abraham, the friend of God, and Esau was the son of
Isaac, who was born according to the promise: yet you know they were both cut off
from the blessing to which they apprehended they had a kind of hereditary claim. You
may remember that our Lord does not only speak of one who would call “Abraham
father,” who “tormented in flames,” (Luke 16:24) but expressly declares that many of
the children of the kingdom shall be shut out of it; and when others come from the most
distant parts to sit down in it, shall be distinguished from their companions in misery
only by louder accents of lamentation, and more furious “gnashing of teeth.” (Matt.
        4. Nor will you then presume to plead “that you had exercised your thoughts
about the speculative parts of religion.” For to what end can this serve, but to increase
your condemnation? Since you have broken God's law, since you have contradicted the
most obvious and apparent obligations of religion, to have inquired into it, and argued
upon it, is a circumstance that proves your guilt more audacious. What! did you think
religion was merely an exercise of men's wit, and the amusement of their curiosity? If
you argued about it on the principles of common sense, you must have judged and
proved it to be a practical thing; and if it was so, why did yen not practice accordingly?
You knew the particular branches of it; and why then did you not attend to every one of
them? To have pleaded an unavoidable ignorance would have been their happiest plea
that could have remained for you; nay, an actual, though faulty ignorance, would have
been some little allay of your guilt. But if; by your own confession, you have “known
your Master's will, and have not done it,” you bear witness against yourself, that you
deserve to be “beaten with many stripes.” (Luke, 12:47)
        5. Nor yet, again, will it suffice to say “that you have had right notions both of
the doctrines and the precepts of religion.” Your advantage for practicing it was
therefore the greater; but understanding and acting right can never go for the same
thing in the judgment of God or of man. In “believing there is one God,” you have done
well; but the “devils also believe and tremble.” (Jam. 2:19) In acknowledging Christ to
be the Son of God and the Holy One, you have done well too; but you know the unclean
spirits made this very orthodox confession; (Luke 4:34,41) and yet they are “reserved in
everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude, ver. 6)
And will you place any secret confidence in that which might be pleaded by the infernal
spirits as well as by you?
        6. But perhaps you may think of pleading that “you have actually done
something in religion.” Having judged what faith was the soundest, and what worship
the purest, “you entered yourself into those societies where such articles of faith were
professed, and such forms of worship were practiced: and among these you have
signalized yourself by exactness of your attendance, by the zeal with which you have
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

espoused their cause, and by the earnestness with which you have contended for such
principles and practices.” O sinner! I much fear that this zeal of thine about the
circumstantials of religion will swell thine account, rather than be allowed in abatement
of it. He that searches thine heart knows from whence it arose, and how far it extended.
Perhaps be sees that it was all hypocrisy, an artful veil under which thou wast carrying
on thy mean designs for this world, while the sacred name of God and religion were
profaned and prostituted in the basest manner: and if so, thou art cursed with a
distinguished curse for so daring an insult on the Divine omniscience as well as justice.
Or perhaps the earnestness with which you have been “contending for the faith and
worship which was once delivered to the saints,” (Jude, ver. 3) or which, it is possible,
you may have rashly concluded to be that, might be mere pride and bitterness of spirit;
and all the zeal you have expressed might possibly arise from a confidence of your own
judgment, from an impatience of contradiction, or some secret malignity of spirit, which
delighteth itself in condemning, and even in worrying others; yea, which, if I may be
al1owed the expression, fiercely preys upon religion, as the tiger upon the lamb, to turn
it into a nature most contrary to its own. And shall this screen you before the great
tribunal? Shall it not rather awaken the displeasure it is pleaded to avert?
        7. But say that this zeal for notions and forms has been ever so well intended,
and, so far as it has gone ever so well conducted too; what will that avail toward
vindicating thee in so many instances or negligence and disobedience as are recorded
against thee in the book of God's remembrance? Were the revealed doctrines of the
Gospel to be earnestly maintained, (as indeed they ought) and was the great practical
purpose for which they were revealed to be forgot? Was the very mint, and anise, and
cummin to be tithed; and were “the weightier matters of the law to be omitted,” (Matt.
23:23) even that love to God which is its “first and great command?” (Matt. 22:38) O!
how wilt thou be able to vindicate even the justest sentence thou hast passed on others
for their infidelity, or for their disobedience, without being “condemned out of thine
own mouth?” (Luke 19:22)
        8. Will you then plead “your fair moral character, your works of righteousness
and of mercy?” Had your obedience to the law of God been complete, the plea might be
allowed as important and valid. But I have supposed, and proved above, that
conscience testifies to the contrary; and you will not now dare to contradict it. I add
farther, had these works of yours, which you now urge, proceeded from a sincere love
to God, and a genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you would not have thought of
pleading them any otherwise than as an evidence of your interest in the Gospel-
covenant and in the blessings of it, procured by the righteousness and blood of the
Redeemer; and that faith, had it been sincere, would have been attended with such deep
humility, and with such solemn apprehensions of the Divine holiness and glory, that,
instead of pleading any works of your own before God, you would rather have
implored his pardon for the mixture of sinful imperfection attending the very best of
them. Now, as you are a stranger to this humbling and sanctifying principle, (which
here in this address I suppose my reader to be) it is absolutely necessary you should be
plainly and faithfully told, that neither sobriety, nor honesty, nor humanity will justify
you before the tribunal of God, when he “lays judgment to the line, and righteousness
to the plummet,” (Isa. 28:17) and examines all your actions and all your thoughts with
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

the strictest severity. You have not been a drunkard, an adulterer, or a robber. So far it is
well. You stand before a righteous God, who will do you ample justice, and therefore
will not condemn you for drunkenness, adultery, or robbery; but you have forgotten
him, your Parent and your Benefactor; you have “cast off fear, and restrained prayer
before him;” (Job 15:4) you have despised the blood of his Son, and all the immortal
blessings that he purchased with it. For this, therefore, you are judged, and condemned.
And as for any thing that has looked like virtue and humanity in your temper and
conduct, the exercise of it has in great measure been its own reward, if there were any
thing more than form and artifice in it; and the various bounties of Divine Providence to
you, amidst all your numberless provocations, have been a thousand times more than
an equivalent for such defective and imperfect virtues as these. You remain therefore
chargeable with the guilt of a thousand offences, for which you have no excuse, though
there are some other instances in which you did not grossly offend. And those good
works in which you have been so ready to trust, will no more vindicate you in his awful
presence, than a man's kindness to his poor neighbors would be allowed as a plea in
arrest of judgment, when he stood convicted of high treason against his prince.
        9. But you will, perhaps, be ready to say, “you did not expect all this: you did not
think the consequences of neglecting religion would have been so fatal.” And why did
you not think it? Why did you not examine more attentively and more impartially?
Why did you suffer the pride and folly of your vain heart to take up with such
superficial appearances, and trust the light suggestions of your own prejudiced mind
against the express declaration of the word of God? Had you reflected on his character
as the supreme Governor of the world, you would have seen the necessity of such a day
of retribution as we are now referring to. Had you regarded the Scripture, the divine
authority of which you professed to believe, every page might have taught you to
expect it. “You did not think of religion!” and of what were you thinking when you
forgot or neglected it? Had you so much employment of another kind? Of what kind, I
beseech you! What end could you propose, by any thing else, of equal moment? Nay,
with all your engagements, conscience will tell you that there have been seasons when,
for want of thought, time and life have been a burden to you; yet you guarded against
thought as against an enemy, and cast up, as it were, an entrenchment of
inconsideration around you on every side, as if it had been to defend you from the most
dangerous invasion. God knew you were thoughtless, and therefore he sent you “line
upon line, and precept upon precept,” (Isa. 28:10) in such plain language that it needed
no genius or study to understand it. He tried you too with afflictions as well as with
mercies, to awaken you out of your fatal lethargy; and yet, when awakened, you would
lie down again upon the bed of sloth. And now, pleasing as your dreams might be,
“you must lie down in sorrow.” (Isa. 50:11) Reflection has at last overtaken you, and
must be heard as a tormentor, since it might not be heard as a friend.
        10. But some may perhaps imagine that one important apology is yet unheard,
and that there may be room to say, “you were, by the necessity of your nature, impelled
to those things which are now charged upon you as crimes; and that it was not in your
power to have avoided them, in the circumstances in which you were placed.” If this
will do any thing, it indeed promises to do much—so much that it will amount to
nothing. If I were disposed to answer you upon the folly and madness of your own
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

principles. I might say that the same consideration which proves it was necessary for
you to offend, proves also that it is necessary for God to punish you; and that, indeed,
he cannot but do it: and I might farther say with an excellent writer, “that the same
principles which destroy the injustice of sins, destroy the injustice of punishment too.”
But if you cannot admit this; if you should still reply, in spite of principle, that it must
be unjust to punish you for an action utterly and absolutely unavoidable, I really think
you would answer right. But in that answer you will contradict your own scheme, as I
observed above; and I leave your conscience to judge what sort of a scheme that must
be which would make all kind of punishment unjust; for the argument will on the
whole be the same, whether with regard to human punishment or divine. It is a scheme
full of confusion and horror. You would not, I am sure, take it from a servant who had
robbed you and then fired your house; you would never inwardly believe that he could
not have helped it or think that he had fairly excused himself by suck a plea; and I am
persuaded you would be so far from presuming to offer it to God at the great day, that
you would not venture to turn it into a prayer even now. Imagine that you saw a
malefactor dying with such words as these in his mouth: “O God! it is true I did indeed
rob and murder my fellow-creatures; but thou knowest, that, as my circumstances were
ordered, I could not do otherwise; my will was irresistibly determined by the motives
which thou didst set before me, and I could as well have shaken the foundations of the
earth, or darkened the sun in the firmament, as have resisted the impulse which bore
me on.” I put it to your conscience whether you would not look on such a speech as this
with detestation, as one enormity added to another. Yet, if the excuse would have any
weight in. your mouth, it would have equal weight in his; or would be equally
applicable to any, the most shocking occasions. But indeed it is so contrary to the
plainest principles of common reason, that I can-hardly persuade myself that any one
could seriously and thoroughly believe it; and should imagine my time very ill
employed here if I were to set myself to combat those pretences to argument by which
the wantonness of human wit has attempted to varnish it over.
        11. You-see then, on the whole, the vanity of all your pleas; and how easily the
most plausible or them might be silenced by a mortal man like yourself; how much
more then by Him who searches all hearts, and can; in a moment, flash in upon the
conscience a most powerful and irresistible conviction? What then can you do, while
you stand convicted in the presence of God? What should you do, but hold your peace
under an inward sense of your inexcusable guilt, and prepare yourself to hear the
sentence which his law pronounces against you? You must feel the execution of it, if the
Gospel does not at length deliver you; and you must feel something of the terror of it
before you can be excited to seek to that Gospel for deliverance.

          The Meditation of a convinced Sinner giving up his vain pleas before God.

        “Deplorable condition to which I am indeed reduced! I hare sinned, and ‘what
shall I say unto thee, O thou Preserver of men?’ (Job 7:20) What shall I dare to say? Fool
that I was, to amuse myself with such trifling excuses as these, and to imagine they
could have any weight in thy tremendous presence, or that I should be able so much as
to mention them there. I cannot presume to do it. I am silent and confounded: my
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

hopes, alas! are slain, and my soul itself is ready to die too, so far as an immortal soul
can die; and I am almost ready to say, O that it could die entirely! I am indeed a
criminal in the hands of justice, quite disarmed, and stripped of the weapons in which I
trusted. Dissimulation can only add provocation to provocation. I will therefore plainly
and freely own it. I have acted as if I thought God was ‘altogether such a one as myself:’
but he hath said, ‘I will reprove thee; I will set thy sins in order before thine eyes;’ (Psal.
50:21) will marshal them in battle array. And, oh! what a terrible kind of host do they
appear! and how do they surround me beyond any possibility of an escape! O my soul
they have, as it were, taken thee prisoner, and they are bearing thee away to the divine
        “Thou must appear before it! thou must see the awful, the eternal Judge, who
‘tries the very reins,’ (Jer. 27:10) and who needs no other evidence, for he has ‘himself
been witness to all thy rebellion.’ (Jer. 29:23) Thou must see him, O my soul! sitting in
judgment upon thee; and, when He is strict to ‘mark iniquity,’ (Psal. 130:8) how wilt
thou ‘answer him for one of a thousand!’ (Job 9:3) And if thou canst not answer him, in
what language will he speak to thee! Lord, as things at present stand, I can expect no
other language than that or condemnation. And what a condemnation is it! Let me
reflect upon it! Let me read my sentence before I hear it finally and irreversibly passed. I
know he has recorded it in his word, and I know, in the general, that the representation
is made with gracious design. I know that be would have us alarmed, that we may not
be destroyed. Speak to me, therefore, O God! while thou speakest not for the last time,
and in circumstances when thou wilt hear me no more. Speak in the language of
effectual error, so that it be not to speak me into final despair. And let thy word,
however painful in its operation, be ‘quick and powerful and sharper than any two-
edged sword.’ (Heb. 4:12) Let me not vainly flatter myself let me not be left a wretched
prey to those ‘who would prophecy smooth things to me,’ (Isa. 30:10) till I am sealed up
under wrath, and feel thy justice piercing my soul, and ‘the poison of thine arrows
drinking up all my spirits.’ (Job 6:4)
        “Before I enter upon the particular view, I know, in the general, that ‘it is a
fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ (Heb. 10:31) O thou living God! in
one sense I am already fallen into thine hands. I am become obnoxious to thy
displeasure, justly obnoxious to it and whatever thy sentence may be, when it comes
forth from thy presence (Psal. 17:2) I must condemn myself and justify thee. Thou canst
not treat file with more severity than mine iniquities have deserved; and how bitter
soever that cup of trembling may be (Isa. 51:17) which thou shalt appoint for me, I give
judgment against myself, that I deserve ‘to wring out the very dregs of it.’” (Psal. 75:8)
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                       CHAPTER VI.

                                THE SINNER SENTENCED.

   1,2.The sinner called upon to hear his sentence.—3. God's law does now in general
   pronounce a curse.—4. It pronounces death.—5. And being turned into hell.—6. The
   judgement day shall come.—7.8. The solemnity of that grand process described
   according to scriptural representations of it.—9. With a particular illustration of the
   sentence, "Depart, accursed," &c.—10. The execution wilt certainly and immediately
   follow.—11. The sinner warned to prepare for enduring it. The reflection of a sinner
   struck with the terror of his sentence.

1. HEAR, O sinner! and I will speak (Job 42:4.) yet once more, as in the name of God, of
God thine Almighty Judge, who, if thou dost not attend to his servants, will, ere long,
speak unto thee in a more immediate manner, with an energy and terror which thou
shalt not be able to resist.
         2. Thou hast been convicted, as in his presence. Thy pleas have been overruled,
or rather they have been silenced. It appears before God, it appears to thine own
conscience that thou hast nothing more to offer in arrest of judgment; therefore hear thy
sentence, and summon up, if thou canst, all the powers of thy soul to bear the execution
of it. “It is,” indeed, a very small thing “to be judged of man's judgment;” but “he who
now judgeth thee is the Lord.” (1 Cor. 4:3,4) Hear, therefore, and tremble, while I tell
thee how he will speak to thee; or rather, while I show thee, from express Scripture,
how he doth even now speak, and what is the authentic and recorded sentence of his
word, even of his word who hath said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one
tittle of my word shall ever pass away.” (Matt. 5:18)
         3. The law of God speaks not to thee alone, O sinner! nor to thee by any
particular address; but in a most universal language it speaks to all transgressors, and
levels its terrors against all offences, great or small, without any exception. And this is
its language: “Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in
the book of the law to do them.” (Gal. 3:10) This is its voice to the whole world; and this
it speaks to thee. Its awful contents are thy personal concern, O reader! and thy
conscience knows it. Far from continuing in all things that are written therein to do
them, thou canst not but be sensible that “innumerable evils have encompassed thee
about.” (Psa. 40:12) It is then manifest thou art the man whom it condemns: thou art
even now “cursed with a curse,” as God emphatically speaks, (Mal 3:9.) with the curse
of the Most High God; yea, “all the curses which are written in the book of the law” are
pointed against thee. (Deut. 29:20) God may righteously execute any of them upon thee
in a moment; and though thou at present feelest none of them, yet, if infinite mercy do
not prevent, it is but a little while and they will “come into thy bowels like water,” till
thou art burst asunder with them, and shall penetrate “like oil into thy bones.” (Psa.
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        4. Thus saith the Lord, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:4) But thou
hast sinned, and therefore thou art under a sentence of death. And, O unhappy
creature, of what a death! What will the end of these things be? That the agonies of
dissolving nature shall seize thee, and thy soul shall be torn away from thy languishing
body, and thou “return to the dust from whence thou wast taken.” (Psal. 104:29) This is
indeed one awful effect of sin. In these affecting characters has God, through all nations
and all ages of men, written the awful register and memorial of his holy abhorrence of
it, and righteous displeasure against it. But, alas! all this solemn pomp and horror of
dying is but the opening of the dreadful scene. It is a rough kind of stroke, by which the
fetters are knocked off when the criminal is led out to torture and execution.
        5. Thus saith the Lord, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, even all the nations
that forget God.” (Psal. 9:17) Though there be whole nations of them, their multitudes
and their power shall be no defence to them. They shall be driven into hell together—
into that flaming prison which divine vengeance hath prepared-into “Tophet, which is
ordained of old, even for royal sinners” as well as for others; so little can any human
distinction protect! “He hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much
wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, shall kindle it;” (Isa. 30:33) and
the flaming torrent shall flow in upon it so fast, that it shall be turned into a sea of liquid
fire; or, as the Scripture also expresses it, “a lake burning with fire and brimstone” for
ever. (Rev. 21:8) “This is the second death,” and the death to which thou, O sinner! by
the word of God art doomed;
        6. And shall this sentence stand upon record in vain! Shall the law speak it, and
the Gospel speak it? and shall it never be pronounced more audibly? and will God
never require and execute the punishment? He will O sinner! require it; and he will
execute it, though he may seem for a while to delay. For well dost thou know that “he
hath appointed a day in which he will judge the” whole “world in righteousness, by
that Man whom he hath ordained, of which he hath given assurance in having raised
him from the dead.” (Acts 17.31) And when God judgeth the world, O reader! whoever
thou aft, he will judge thee. And while I remind thee of it, I would also remember that
he will judge me. And “knowing the terror of the Lord,” (2 Cor 5:11) that I may “deliver
my own soul,” (Ezek. 33:9) I would, with all plainness and sincerity, labor to deliver
        7. I therefore repeat the solemn warning: Then, O sinner! shalt “stand before the
judgment-seat of Christ.” (2 Cor. 5:10) Thou shalt see that pompous appearance, the
description of which is grown so familiar to thee that the repetition of it makes no
impression on thy mind. But surely, stupid as thou now art, the shrill trumpet of the
archangel shall shake thy very soul: and if nothing else can awaken and alarm thee, the
convulsions and flames of a dissolving world shall do it.
        8. Dost thou really think that the intent of Christ's final appearance is only to
recover his people from the grave, and to raise them to glory and happiness? Whatever
assurance thou hast that there shall be “a resurrection of the just,” thou hast the same
that there shall also be “a resurrection or the unjust;” (Acts, 24:15) that “he shall
separate” the rising dead “one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the
goats,” (Matt. 25:32) with equal certainty, and with infinitely greater ease. Or can you
imagine that he will only make an example of some flagrant and notorious sinners,
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

when it is said that “all the dead,” both “small and great,” shall “stand before God;”
(Rev. 20:12) and that even “he who knew not his Master's will,” and consequently
seems of all others to have had the fairest excuse for his omission to obey it, yet even
“he,” for that very omission, “shall be beaten,” though “with fewer stripes?” (Luke
12:48) Or can you think that a sentence, to be delivered with so much pomp and
majesty, a sentence by which the righteous judgment of God is to be revealed, and to
have its most conspicuous and final triumph, will be inconsiderable, or the punishment
to which it shall consign the sinner be slight or tolerable? There would have been little
reason to apprehend that, even if we had been left barely to our own conjectures what
that sentence should be. But this is far from being the case: our Lard Jesus Christ, in his
infinite condescension and compassion, has been pleased to give us a copy of the
sentence, and no doubt a most exact copy; and the words which contain it are worthy of
being inscribed on every heart. “The King,” amidst all the splendor and dignity in
which he shall them appear, “shall say unto those on his right hand, Come, ye blessed
of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!”
(Matt. 25:34) And “where the word of a king is, there is power” indeed. (Eccles. 8:4)
And these words have a power which may justly animate the heart of the humble
Christian under the most overwhelming sorrow, and may fill him “with joy
unspeakable and fall of glory.” (1 Pet. 1:8) To be pronounced the blessed of the Lord! to
be called to a kingdom! to the immediate, the everlasting inheritance of it; and of such a
kingdom! so well prepared, so glorious, so complete, so exquisitely fitted for the delight
and entertainment of such creatures, so formed and so renewed that it shall appear
worthy the eternal counsels of God to have contrived it, worthy his eternal love to have
prepared it, and to have delighted himself with the views of bestowing it upon his
people: behold a blessed hope indeed! a lively, glorious hope, to which we are
“begotten again by the resurrection of Christ from the dead,” (I Pet.1:3) and formed by
the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of God upon our minds. But it is a hope from
which thou, O sinner! art at present excluded; and methinks that it might be grievous to
reflect, “These gracious words shall Christ speak to some, to multitudes—but not to me;
on me there is no blessedness pronounced; for me there is no kingdom prepared.” But is
that all? Alas! sinner, our Lord hath given thee a dreadful counterpart to this. He has
told us what he will say to thee, if thou continuest what thou art—to thee, and all the
nations of the impenitent and unbelieving world, be they ever so numerous, be the rank
of particular criminals ever so great. He shall say to the “kings of the earth” who have
been rebels against him, to “the great and rich men, and the chief captains and the
mighty men,” as well as to “every bondman and every freeman” or inferior rank, (Rev.
9:15) “Depart front me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels.” (Matt. 25:41) Oh! pause upon these weighty words, that thou mayest enter into
something of the importance of them
        9. He will say, “Depart:” you shall be driven from his presence with disgrace and
infamy: “from him,” the source of life and blessedness, in a nearness to whom all the
inhabitants of heaven continually rejoice; you shall “depart,” accursed: you have broken
God's law, and its curse falls upon you; and you are and shall he under that curse, that
abiding curse; from that day forward you shall be regarded by God and all his creatures
as an accursed and abominable thing, as the most detestable and the most miserable
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

part of the creation. You shall go “into fire;” and, oh! consider into what fire! Is it merely
into one fierce blaze which shall consume you in a moment, though with exquisite
pain? That were terrible. But, oh! such terrors are not to be named with these. Thine,
sinner, “is everlasting fire.” It is that which our Lord hath in such awful terms described
as prevailing there, “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched;” and
again, in wonderful compassion, a third time, “where their worm dieth not, and the fire
is not quenched,” (Mark 9:44, 46, 48) Nor was it originally prepared or principally
intended for you: it was “prepared for the devil and his angels;” for those first grand
rebels who were, immediately upon their fall, doomed to it: and since you have taken
part with them in their apostacy, you must sink with them into that flaming ruin, and
sink so much the deeper, as you have despised the Savior, who was never offered to
them. These must be your companions and your tormentors, with whom you must
dwell forever. And is it I that say this? or says not the law and the Gospel the same?
Does not the Lord Jesus Christ expressly say, who is the “faithful and true witness,”
(Rev. 3:14) even he who himself is to pronounce the sentence?
        10. And when it is thus pronounced, and pronounced by him, shall it not also be
executed? Who could imagine the contrary? Who could imagine there should be all this
pompous declaration to fill the mind only with vain terror, and that this sentence
should vanish into smoke? You may easily apprehend that this would be a greater
reproach to the Divine administration than if sentence were never to be passed. And
therefore we might easily have inferred the execution of it, from the process of the
preceding judgment. But lest the treacherous heart of a sinner should deceive him with
so vain a hope, the assurance of that execution is immediately added in very memorable
terms. It shall be done: it shall immediately be done. Then on that very day, while the
sound of it is yet in their ears, “the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment;”
(Matt. 25:46) and thou, O reader! whoever thou art, being found in their number, shalt
go away with them; shalt be driven on among all these wretched multitudes and
plunged with them into eternal ruin. The wide gates of hell shall be open to receive
thee: they shall be shut upon thee for ever, to enclose thee, and be fast barred by the
Almighty hand of divine justice, to prevent all hope, all possibility of escape for ever.
        11. And now “prepare” thyself “to meet the Lord thy God.” (Amos 4:12)
Summon up all the resolution of thy mind to endure such a sentence such an execution
as this: for “he will not meet thee as a man;” (Isa. 47:36) whoseheart may sometimes fail
him when about to exert a needful act of severity, so that compassion may prevail
against reason and justice. No, he will meet thee as a God, whose schemes and purposes
are all immovable as iris throne. I therefore testify to thee in his name this day, that if
God be true, he will thus speak; and that if he be able, he will thus act. And on
supposition of thy continuance in thine impenitence and unbelief, thou art brought into
this miserable case, that if God be not either false or weak, thou art undone, thou art
eternally undone.

               The Reflection of a Sinner struck with the Terror of his Sentence.

      “Wretch that I am, What shall I do, or whither shall I flee? ‘I arm weighed in the
balance, and and found wanting.’ (Dan. 5:27) This is indeed my doom; the doom I am to
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

expect from the mouth of Christ himself, from the mouth of him that died for the
redemption and salvation of men. Dreadful sentence! and so much the more dreadful
when considered in that view! To what shall I look to save me from it? To whom shall I
call? Shall I say to the rocks, fall upon me, and to the hills, cover me? (Luke 23:30) What
should I gain by that? Were I indeed overwhelmed with rocks and mountains, they
could not conceal me from the notice of his eye; and his hand could reach me with as
much ease there as any where else.
        “Wretch indeed that I am! O that I had never been born! O that I had never
known the dignity and prerogative of the rational nature? Fatal prerogative indeed, that
renders me obnoxious to condemnation and wrath! O that I had never been instructed
in the will of God at all rather than that, being thus instructed, I should have
disregarded and transgressed it! Would to God I had been allied to the meanest of the
human race, to them that come nearest to the state of the brutes, rather than that I
should have had my lot in cultivated Life, amidst so many of the improvements of
reason, and (dreadful reflection!) amidst so many of the advantages of religion tool and
thus to have perverted all to my own destruction! O that God would take away this
rational soul! but, alas! it will live for ever, will live to feel the agonies of eternal death.
Why have I seen the beauties and glories of a world like this, to exchange it for that
flaming prison! Why have I tasted so many of my Creator's bounties, to wring out at
last the dregs of his wrath! Why have I known the delights of social life and friendly
converse, to exchange them for the horrid company of devils and damned spirits in hell!
Oh! ‘who can dwell with them in devouring flames? who can lie down’ with them ‘in
everlasting, everlasting, everlasting burnings?’ (Isa. 33:14)
        “But whom have I to blame in all this but my-self? What have I to accuse but my
own stupid incorrigible folly? On what is all this terrible ruin to be charged, but on this
one fatal, cursed cause that having broken God's law. I rejected his Gospel too;
        “Yet stay, O my soul, in the midst of all these doleful foreboding complaints. Can
I say that I have finally rejected the Gospel? Am I not to this day under the sound of it?
The sentence is not yet gone forth against me in so determinate a manner as to be
utterly irreversible. Through all this gloomy prospect one ray of hope breaks in, and it is
possible I may yet be delivered.
        “Reviving thought! Rejoice in it, O my soul! though it be with trembling, and
turn immediately to that God, who, though provoked by ten thousand offences, has not
yet 'sworn in his wrath that thou shalt never be permitted to hold further intercourse
with him., or to ‘enter into his rest’ (Psal. 95 11)
        “I do then, O blessed Lord! prostrate myself in the dust before thee, I own I am a
condemned and miserable creature. But my language is that of the humble publican,
‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ (Luke 18:13) Some general and confused
apprehensions I have of a way by which I may possibly escape. O God, whatever that
way is, show it me, I beseech thee! Point it out so plainly that I may not be able to
mistake it! And. oh! reconcile my heart to it, be it ever so humbling, be it ever so
        “Surely, Lord, I have much to learn; but be thou my teacher! Stay for a little
moment thine uplifted hand, and in thine infinite compassion delay the stroke till I
inquire a little farther how I may finally avoid it!"
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER VII.


   1.2. The sinner urged to consider how he can be saved from this impending ruin.—3 Not
   by any thing he can offer.—4. Nor by any thing he can endure.—5 Nor by any thing hr
   can do in the course of future duty.—6-8. Nor by any alliance with fellow-sinners on
   earth or in hell.—9. Nor by any interposition or intercession of angels or saints in his
   favor. Hint of the only method to be afterwards more largely explained. The lamentation
   of a sinner in this miserable condition.

1. SINNER, thou hast heard the sentence of God as it stands upon record in his sacred
and immutable word; and wilt thou lie down under its in everlasting despair? wilt thou
make no attempt to be delivered from it, when it speaks nothing less than eternal death
to thy soul? If a criminal, condemned by human laws, has but the least shadow of hope
that he may escape, he is all attention to it. If there be a friend who be thinks can help
him, with what strong importunity does be entreat! the interposition of that! friend?
And even while he is before the judge. how difficult is it! often to force him away from
the bar, while the cry of mercy, mercy, mercy, may be heard, though it be never so
unseasonable? A mere possibility that it may make some eager in it, and unwilling to be
silenced and removed.
        2. Wilt thou not then, O Sinner! ere yet execution is done, that execution which
may perhaps be done this very day, wilt thou not cast about in thy thoughts what
measures may be taken for deliverance? Yet what measures can be taken? Consider
attentively, for it is an affair of moment. Thy wisdom, thy power, thy eloquence, thy
interest can never he exerted on a greater occasion. If thou canst help thyself, do it. If
thou hast any secret source of relief, go not out of thyself for other assistance. If thou
hast any sacrifice to offer, if thou hast any strength to exert; yea, if thou hast any allies
on earth, or in the invisible world, who can defend or deliver thee, take thy own way, so
that thou mayest but be delivered at all, that we may not see thy ruin. But say, O sinner!
in the presence of God, what sacrifice thou wilt present, what strength thou wilt exert,
what allies thou wilt have recourse to on so urgent, so hopeless an occasion. For
hopeless I must indeed pronounce it, if such methods are taken.
        3. The justice of God is injured; hast thou any atonement to make to it? If thou
wast brought to an inquiry and proposal, like that of an awakened sinner, “Wherewith
shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before
him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with
thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?” (Mic. 6:6,7) Alas! wert thou
as great a prince as Solomon himself and couldst thou indeed purchase such sacrifices
as these, there would be no room to mention them. “Lebanon would not be sufficient to
burn, nor all the beasts thereof for a burnt-offering.” (Isa. 40:18) Even under that
dispensation which admitted and required sacrifices in some cases, the blood of bulls
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

and of goats, though it exempted the offender from farther temporal punishment,
“could not take away sin,” (Heb. 10:4) nor prevail by any means to purge the conscience
in the sight of God. And that soul that had “done aught presumptuously” was not
allowed to bring any sin-offering, or trespass-offering at all, but was condemned to “die
without mercy.” (Num. 15:30) Now God and thine own conscience know that thine
offences have not been merely the errors of ignorance and inadvertency, but that thou
hast sinned with a high hand in repeated aggravated instances, as thou hast
acknowledged already. shouldst thou add, with the wretched sinner described above,
“Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my
soul?” (Mic. 6:7) What could the blood of a beloved child do in such a case, but dye thy
crimes so much the deeper and add a yet unknown horror to them? Thou hast offended
a Being of infinite majesty; and if that offence is to be expiated by blood, it must be
another kind of blood than that which flows in the veins of thy children, or in thine
        4. Wilt thou then suffer thyself till thou hast made full satisfaction? But how shall
that satisfaction be made? Shall it be by any calamities to be endured in this mortal,
momentary life? Is the justice of God then esteemed so little a thing, that the sorrows of
a few days should suffice to answer its demands? Or dost thou think of future
sufferings in the invisible world? If thou dost, that is not deliverance; and with regard
to that, I may venture to say, when thou hast made full satisfaction, thou wilt be
released; when thou hast paid the uttermost farthing of that debt, thy prison-doors shall
be opened; but in the mean time thou must “make thy bed in hell:” (Psa. 139:8) and, oh!
unhappy man, wilt thou lie down there with a secret hope that the moment will come
when the rigor of Divine justice will not be able to inflict any thing more than thou hast
endured, and when thou mayest claim thy discharge as a matter of right? It would
indeed be well for thee if thou couldst carry down with thee such a hope, false and
flattering as it is; but, alas! thou wilt see things in so just a light, that to have no comfort
but this will be eternal despair. That one word of thy sentence, “everlasting fire;” that
one declaration, “the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,” will be sufficient to
strike such a thought into black confusion, and to over-whelm thee with hopeless agony
and horror.
        5. Or do you think that your future reformation and diligence in duty for the
time to come will procure your discharge from this sentence? Take heed, sinner, what
kind of obedience thou thinkest of offering to a holy God. That must be spotless and
complete which his infinite sanctity can approve and accept, if he consider thee in
thyself alone: there must be no inconstancy, no forgetfulness, no mixture of sin
attending it. And wilt thou, enfeebled as thou art by so much original corruption and so
many sinful habits contracted by innumerable actual transgressions, undertake to
render such an obedience, and that for all the remainder or thy life! In vain wouldst
thou attempt it, even for one day. New guilt would immediately plunge thee into new
ruin. But if it did not, if from this moment to the very end of thy life all were as
complete obedience as the law of God required from Adam in Paradise, would that be
sufficient to cancel past guilt? Would it discharge an old debt, that thou hast not
contracted a new one? Offer this to thy neighbor, and see if he will accept it for
payment; and if he will not, wilt thou presume to offer it to thy God?
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

         6. But I will not multiply words on so plain a subject. While I speak thus, time is
passing away death presses on, and judgment is approaching. And what can save thee
from these awful scenes, or what can protect thee in them? Can the world save thee—
that vain delusive idol of thy wishes and suits, to which thou alt sacrificing thine eternal
hopes? Well dost thou know that it will utterly forsake thee when thou needest it most;
and that not one of its enjoyments can be carried along with thee into the invisible state,
no, not so much as a trifle to remember it by, if thou couldst desire to remember so
inconstant and so treacherous a friend as the world has been.
         7. And when you are dead, or when you are dying, can your sinful companions
save you? Is there any one of them, if he were ever so desirous of doing it, that “can
give unto God a ransom for you,” (Psa. 49:7) to deliver you from going down to the
grave, or from going down to hell? Alas! you will probably be so sensible of this, that
when you lie on the borders of the grave you will be unwilling to see or to converse
with those that were once your favorite companions. They will afflict you rather than
relieve you, even then; how much less can they relieve you before the bar of God, when
they arc overwhelmed with their own condemnation!
         8. As for the powers of darkness, you are sure they will he far from having any
ability or inclination to help you. Satan has been watching and laboring for your
destruction, and he will triumph in it. But if there could he any thing of an amicable
confederacy between you, what would that be but an association in ruin? For the day of
judgment of ungodly men will also be the judgment of these rebellious spirits; and the
fire into which thou, O sinner, must depart, is that which was “prepared for the devil
and his angels.”" (Matt. 25:41)
         9. Will the celestial spirits then save thee? Will they interpose their power or their
prayers in thy favor? An interposition of power, when sentence is gone forth against
thee, were an act of rebellion against heaven, which these holy and excellent creatures
would abhor. And when the final pleasure of the Judge is known, instead of interceding
in vain for the wretched criminal, they would rather, with ardent zeal for the glory of
their Lord, and cordial acquiescence in the determination of his wisdom and justice,
prepare to execute it. Yea, difficult as it may at present be to conceive it, it is a certain
truth, that the servants of Christ, who now most tenderly love you, and most
affectionately seek your salvation, not excepting those who are allied to you in the
nearest bonds of nature or of friendship, even they shall put their amen to it. Now
indeed their bowels yearn over you, and their eyes pour out tears on your account.
Now they expostulate with you, and plead with God for you, if by any means, while yet
there is hope, you may “be plucked as a firebrand out of the burning.” (Amos 4:11) But,
alas! their remonstrances you will not regard; and as for their prayers, what should they
ask for you? What but that you may see yourself to be undone; and that utterly
despairing of any help from yourself, or from any created power, you may lie before
God in humility and brokenness of heart; that, submitting yourself to his righteous
judgment and in an utter renunciation of all self-dependence and of all creature
dependence, you may lift up an humble look towards him, as almost from the depths of
hell, if peradventure he may have compassion upon you, and may himself direct you to
that only method of rescue, which, while things continue as in present circumstances
they are, neither earth, nor hell, nor heaven can afford you.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                  The Lamentation of a Sinner in this miserable Condition.

        “O! doleful, uncomfortable, helpless state! O wretch that I am, to have reduced
myself to it! Poor, empty, miserable, abandoned creature! Where is my pride and the
haughtiness of my heart? Where are my idol deities. ‘whom I have loved and served,
after whom I have walked, and whom I have sought,’ (Jer. 8:2) while I have been
multiplying my transgressions against the majesty of heaven? Is there no heart to have
compassion upon me? Is there no hand to save me? ‘Have pity upon me, have pity
upon me, O my friends, for the hand of God bath touched me;’ (Job, 19:21) hath seized
me! I feel it pressed upon me hard, and what shall I do? Perhaps they have pity upon
me; but, alas! how feeble a compassion! Only, if there be any where in the whole
compass of nature any help, tell me where it may be found! O point it out, direct me
toward it; or rather, confounded and astonished as my mind is, take me by the hand
and lead me to it!
        “O ye ministers of the Lord, whose office it is to guide and comfort distressed
souls, take pity upon me! I fear I am a pattern of many other helpless creatures who
have the like need of your assistance. Lay aside your other cares to care for my soul, to
care for this precious soul of mine, which lies as it were bleeding to death, (if that
expression may be used) while you perhaps hardly afford me a look, or, glancing an eye
upon me, ‘pass over to the other side.’ (Luke 10:32) Yet, alas! in a case like mine, what
can your interposition avail if it be alone: ‘If the Lord do not help me, how can you help
me?’ (2 Kin. 6:27)
        “’O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh,’ (Num. 16:22) I lift up mine eyes unto
thee, and ‘cry unto thee as out of the belly of hell.’ (Jon., 2:2) I cry unto thee, at least
from the borders of it. Yet, while I lie before thee in this infinite distress, I know that
thine Almighty power and boundless grace can still find out a way for my recovery.
        “Thou art he whom I have most of all injured and affronted; and yet from thee
alone must I now seek redress. ‘Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done evil in
thy sight;’ so that ‘thou mightest- be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when
thou judgest,’ (Psa. 51:4) though thou shouldst at this moment adjudge me to eternal
misery. And yet I find something that secretly draws me to thee, as if I might find
rescue there, where I have deserved the most aggravated destruction. Blessed God, I
‘have destroyed myself; but in thee is my help,’ (Hos. 13:9) if there can be help at all.
        “I know, in the general, that ‘thy ways are not as our ways, nor thy thoughts as
our thoughts;’ but are as ‘high above them as the heavens are above the earth.’ (Isa.
55:8,9) ‘Have mercy,’ therefore, ‘upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness,
according to the multitude of thy tender mercies!’ (Psa. 51:1) O point out the path to the
city of refuge! O ‘lead me’ thyself ‘in the way everlasting!’ (Psa. 139:24) I know, in the
general, that thy Gospel is the only remedy: O teach thy servants to administer it! O
prepare my heart to receive it! and suffer not, as in many instances, that malignity
which has spread itself through all my nature, to turn that noble medicine into poison!"
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER VIII.

                        CONDEMNED SINNER.

   1. The awful things which have hitherto been said, intended not to grieve, but to help.—
   2. After some reflection on the pleasure with which a minister of the Gospel may deliver
   at message with which he is charged.—3.And some reasons for the repetition of what is
   in speculation so generally known.—4. 6. The author proceeds briefly to declare the
   substance of these glad tidings: viz. that God having in his infinite compassion sent his
   Son to die for sinners, is now reconcilable through him.—7.8. So that the most heinous
   transgressions shall be entirely pardoned to believers, and they made completely and
   eternally happy. The sinner's reflection on this good news.

1. My dear reader, it is the great design of the Gospel, and wherever it is cordially
received, it is the glorious effect of it, to fill the heart with sentiments of love; to teach us
to abhor all unnecessary rigor and severity, and to delight not in the grief but in the
happiness of our fellow-creatures. I can hardly apprehend how he can be a Christian
who takes pleasure in the distress which appears even in a brute, much less in that of a
human mind; and especially in such distress as the thoughts I have been proposing
must give, if there be any due attention to their weight and energy. I have often felt a
tender regret while I have been representing these things; and I could have wished from
my heart that it had not been necessary to have placed them in so severe and so painful
a light. But now I am addressing myself to a part of my work which I undertake with
unutterable pleasure, and to that which indeed I had in view in all those awful things
which I have already been laying before you. I have been showing you, that, if you
hitherto have lived in a state of impenitence and sin, you are condemned by God's
righteous judgment, and have in yourself no spring or hope and no possibility of
deliverance. But I mean not to leave you under this sad apprehension, to lie down and
die in despair, complaining of that cruel zeal which has “tormented you before your
time.” (Matt. 8:29)
        2. Arise, O thou dejected soul, that art prostrate in the dust before God, and
trembling under the terror of his righteous sentence; for I am commissioned to tell thee,
that, though “thou hast destroyed thyself, in God is thine help.” (Hos. 13:9) I bring thee
“good tidings of great joy,” (Luke 2:10) which delight mine own heart while I proclaim
them, and will, I hope, reach and revive thine—even the tidings of salvation by the
blood and righteousness of the Redeemer. And I give it thee for thy greater security, in
the words of a gracious and forgiving God, that “he is in Christ reconciling the world
unto himself, and not imputing to them their trespasses.” (2 Cor. 5:19)
        3. This in the best news that ever was heard, the most important message which
God ever sent to his creatures; and though I doubt not that, living as you have done in a
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

Christian country, you have heard it often, perhaps a thousand and a thousand times; I
will, with all simplicity and plainness, repeat it to you again, and repeat it as if you bad
never heard it before. If thou, O sinner, shouldst now for the first time feel it, then will it
be as a new Gospel unto thee, though so familiar to thine ear; nor shall it be “grievous
to me” to speak what is so common, “since to you it is safe” and necessary. (Phil. 3:1)
They who are most deeply and intimately acquainted with it, instead of being cloyed
and satiated, wilt hear it with distinguished pleasure; and as for those who have
hitherto slighted it, I am sure they had need to hear it again. Nor is it absolutely
impossible that some one soul at least may read these lines who hath never been clearly
and fully instructed in this important doctrine, though his everlasting all depends on
knowing and receiving it. I will therefore take care that such a one shall not have it to
plead at the bar of God, that, though he lived in a Christian country, he was never
plainly and faithfully taught the doctrine of salvation by Jesus Christ, “the way, the
truth, and the life, by whom alone we come unto the Father.” (John 14:6)
        4. I do therefore testify unto you this day, that the holy and gracious Majesty of
heaven and earth, foreseeing the fatal apostacy into which the whole human race would
fall, did not determine to deal in a way of strict and rigorous severity with us, so as to
consign us over to universal ruin and inevitable damnation; but, on the contrary, he
determined to enter into a treaty of peace and reconciliation, and to publish to all whom
the Gospel should reach, the express offers of life and glory, in a certain method which
his infinite wisdom judged suitable to the purity of his nature and the honor of his
government. This method was indeed a most astonishing one, which, familiar as it is to
our thoughts and our tongues, I cannot recollect and mention without great
amazement. He determined to send his own Son into the world, “the brightness of his
glory and the express image of his person,” (Heb. 1:3) partaker of his own divine
perfections and honors, to be, not merely a teacher of righteousness and a messenger of
grace, but also a sacrifice for the sins of men; and would consent to his saving them on
no other condition but this, that he should not only labor, but die in the cause.
        5. Accordingly, at such a period of time as infinite wisdom saw most convenient,
the Lord Jesus Christ appeared in human flesh; and after he had gone through incessant
and long-continued fatigue, and borne all the preceding injuries which the ingratitude
and malice of men could inflict, he voluntarily “submitted himself to death, even the
death of the cross;” (Phil. 2:8) and having been “delivered for our offences, was raised
again for our justification.” (Rom. 4:25) After his resurrection he continued long enough
on earth to give his followers most convincing evidences of it, and then “ascended into
heaven in their sight;” (Acts 1:9-11) and sent down his Spirit from thence unto his
apostles, to enable them, in the most persuasive and authoritative manner, “to preach
the Gospel;” and he has given it in charge to them, and to those who in every age
succeed them in this part of their office, that it should be published “to every creature,”
(Mark 16:15) that all who believe in it may be saved by virtue of its abiding energy, and
the immutable power and grace of its divine Author, who is “the same yesterday.
today, and for ever.” (Heb. 13:8)
        6. This Gospel do I therefore now preach and proclaim unto thee, O reader, with
the sincerest desire that, through divine grace, it may “this very day be salvation to thy
soul.” (Luke 19:9) Know therefore and consider it, whosoever thou art, that as surely as
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

these words are now before thine eyes, so sure it is that the incarnate Son of God was
“made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men;” (1 Car. 4:9) his back torn
with scourges, his head with thorns, his limbs stretched out as on a rack, and nailed to
the accursed tree; and in this miserable condition he was hung by his hands and feet, as
an object of public infamy and contempt. Thus did he die in the midst of all the taunts
and insults of his cruel enemies, who thirsted for his blood; and, which was the saddest
circumstance of all, in the midst of those agonies with which he closed the most
innocent, perfect, and useful life that ever was spent on earth, he had not those supports
of the divine presence which sinful men have often experienced when they have been
suffering for the testimony of their conscience. They have often burst out into transports
of joy and songs of praise, while their executioners have been glutting their hellish
malice, and more than savage barbarity, by making their torments artificially grievous;
but the crucified Jesus cried out, in the distress of his spotless and holy soul, “My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)
        7. Look upon your dear Redeemer! look up to this mournful, dreadful, yet, in one
view, delightful spectacle! and then ask thine own heart, Do I believe that Jesus suffered
and died thus? And why did he suffer and die? Let me answer in God's own words,
“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, and the
chastisement of our peace was upon him, that by his stripes we might he healed: it
pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief, when he made his soul an offering
for sin; for the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa. 53:5,6,10) So that I may
address you in the words of the apostle, “Be it known unto you therefore, that through
this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins;” (Acts 13:38) as it was his
command, just after he arose from the dead, “that repentance and remission of sins
should be, preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem,” (Luke
24:47) the very place, where his blood had so lately been shed in such a cruel manner. I
do thereby testify to you, in the words of another inspired writer, that Christ was made
sin, that is, a sin offering, “for; though he knew no sin, that we might be made the
righteousness of God in him:” (2 Cor. 5:21) that is, that through the righteousness he has
fulfilled, and the atonement he has made, we might be accepted by God as righteous,
and be not only pardoned, but received into his favor. “To you is the word of this
salvation sent,” (Acts 13:26) and to you, O reader, are the blessings of it even now
offered by God, sincerely rely offered; so that, after all that I have said under the former
heads, it is not your having broken the law of God that shall prove your ruin, if you do
not also reject his Gospel. It is not all those legions of sins which rise up in battle array
against you that shall be able to destroy you, if unbelief do not lead them on, and final
impenitency do not bring up the rear I know that guilt is a timorous thing; I wilt
therefore speak in the words of God himself nor can any be more comfortable: “He that
believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” (John 3:36) “and he shall never come into
condemnation.” (John 5:24) “There is therefore now no condemnation,” no kind or
degree of it, “to them,” to any one of them, “who are in Jesus Christ, who walk not after
the flesh, but after the spirit.” (Rom. 8:1) You have indeed been a very great sinner, and
your offences have truly been attended with most heinous aggravations; nevertheless
you may rejoice in the assurance, that “where sin hath abounded, there shall grace
much more abound; “that where sin bath reigned unto death,” where it has had its most
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

unlimited sway and most unresisted triumph, there “shall righteousness reign to
eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:21) That righteousness, to which on
believing on him thou wilt be entitled, shall not only break those chains by which sin is,
as it were, dragging thee at its chariot-wheels with a furious pace to eternal ruin, but it
shall clothe thee with the robes of salvation, shall fix thee on a throne of glory, where
thou shalt live and reign for ever among the princes uf heaven, shalt reign in immortal
beauty and joy. without one remaining scar of divine displeasure upon thee, without
any single mark by which it could be known that thou hadst even been obnoxious to
wrath and a curse, except it be an anthem of praise to “the Lamb that was slain, and has
washed thee from thy sins in his own blood.” (Rev. 1:5)
        8. Nor is it necessary, in order to thy being released from guilt, and entitled to
this high and complete felicity, that thou shouldst, before thou wilt venture to apply to
Jesus, bring any good works of thine own to recommend thee to his acceptance. It is
indeed true, that, if thy faith be sincere, it will certainly produce them; but I have the
authority of the word of God to tell thee that if thou this day sincerely believest in the
name of the Son of God, thou shalt this day be taken under his care, and be numbered
among those of his sheep to whom he hath graciously declared that “he will give
eternal life, and that they shall never perish.” (John 10:28) Thou hast no need therefore
to say, “Who shall go up into heaven, or who shall descend into the deep for me? For
the word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart.” (Rom. 10:6,7,8) With this joyful
message I leave thee; with this faithful saying, indeed “worthy of all acceptation;” (1
Tim. l:15) with this Gospel, O sinner, which is my life; and which, if thou dost not reject,
will be thine too.

                         The Sinner's Reflection on this Good News.

        “O my soul, how astonishing is the message which thou hast this day received! I
have indeed often heard it before and it is grown so common to me, that the surprise is
not sensible. But reflect, O my soul, what it is thou hast heard, and say whether the
name of a Savior whose message it is, may not well be called ‘Wonderful, counsellor,’
(Isa. 9:6) when he displays before thee such wonders of love, and proposes to thee such
counsels of peace!
        “Blessed Jesus, is it indeed thus? Is it not the fiction of the human mind? Surely it
is not! What human mind could have invented or conceived it? It is a plain, a certain
fact, that thou didst leave the magnificence and joy of the heavenly world in
compassion to such a wretch as I! Oh! hadst thou from that height of dignity and felicity
only looked down upon me for one moment, and sent some gracious word to me for
my direction and comfort, even by the least of thy servants, justly might I have
prostrated myself in grateful admiration, and have kissed ‘the very footsteps’ of him
‘that published the salvation.’ (Isa. 52:7) But didst thou condescend to be thyself the
messenger? What grace had that been, though thou hadst but once in person made the
declaration, and immediately returned back to the throne from whence divine
compassion brought thee down? But this is not all the triumph of thine illustrious grace.
It not only brought thee down to earth, but kept thee here in a frail and wretched
tabernacle, for long successive years; and at length it cost thee thy life, and stretched
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

thee out as a malefactor upon the cross, after thou hadst borne insult and cruelty which
it may justly wound my heart so much as to think of. And thus thou hast atoned injured
justice, and ‘redeemed me to God with thine own blood.’ (Rev. 5:9)
        “What shall I say! ‘Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief!’ (Mark 9:24) It seems to
put faith to tile stretch, to admit what it indeed exceeds the utmost stretch of
imagination to conceive. Blessed, for ever blessed be thy name, O thou Father of
mercies, that thou hast contrived the way! Eternal thanks to the Lamb that was slain,
and to that kind Providence that sent the word of this salvation to me! O let me not, for
ten thousand worlds, ‘receive the grace of God in vain!’ (2 Cor. 6:1) O impress this
Gospel upon my soul, till its saving virtue be diffused over every faculty! Let it not only
be heard, and acknowledged, and professed, but felt! Make it ‘thy power to my eternal
salvation;’ (Rom. 1:16) and raise me to that humble, tender gratitude, to that active,
unwearied zeal in thy service, which becomes one ‘to whom so much is forgiven.’ (Luke
7:47) and forgiven upon such terms as these.
        “I feel a sudden glow in mine heart while these tidings are sounding in mine
ears; but, oh! let it not be a slight superficial transport! O let not this, which I would fain
call my Christian joy, be as that foolish laughter, with which I have been so madly
enchanted, ‘like the crackling blaze of thorns under a pot!’ (Eccles. 7:6) O teach me to
secure this mighty blessing, this glorious hope, in the method which thou hast
appointed; and preserve me from mistaking the joy of nature, while it catches a glimpse
of its rescue from destruction, for that consent of grace which embraces and ensures the
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER IX.

                       TO BE OBTAINED.

   1. An inquiry into the way of salvation by Christ being supposed.—2. The sinner is in
   general directed to repentance and faith.—3. And urged to give up all self-
   dependence.—4. And to seek salvation by free grace.—5. A summary of more particular
   directions is proposed.—6. That the sinner should apply to Christ.—7. With a deep
   abhorrence of his former sins.—8. And a firm resolution of forsaking them.—9. That he
   solemnly commits his soul into the hands of Christ, the great vital act of faith.—10.
   Which is exemplified at large.—11. That he make it in fact the governing care of his
   future life to obey and imitate Christ.—12. This is the only method of obtaining Gospel
   salvation. The Sinner deliberating on the necessity of accepting it.

1. I now consider you, my dear reader, as coming to me with the inquiry which the Jews
once addressed to our Lord, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
(John 4:28) "What method shall I take to secure that redemption and salvation which I
am told Christ has procured for his people?" I would answer it as seriously and
carefully as possible, as one that knows of what importance it is to you to be rightly
informed; and that knows also how strictly he is to answer to God for the sincerity and
care with which the reply is made. May I be enabled to “speak as his oracle,” (1 Pet.
4:11) that is in such a manner as faithfully to echo back what the sacred oracles teach!
        2. And here, that I may be sure to follow the safest guides and the fairest
examples, I must preach salvation to you in the way of “repentance toward God, and of
faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Acts 20:21) that good old doctrine which the apostles
preached, and which no man can pretend to change but at the peril of his own souls and
of theirs who attend to him.
        3. I suppose that you are by this time convinced of your guilt and condemnation,
and of your own inability to recover yourself. Let me nevertheless urge you to feel that
conviction yet more deeply, and to impress it with yet greater weight upon your soul;
that you have “undone yourself," and that "in yourself is not your help found.” (Hos.
13:9) Be persuaded, therefore, expressly, and solemnly, and sincerely, to give up all self-
dependence; which, if you do not guard against it, will be ready to return secretly
before it is observed, and will lead you to at-tempt building up what you have just been
        4. Be assured, that, if ever you are saved, you must ascribe that salvation entirely
to the free grace of God. If, guilty and miserable as you are, you are not only accepted,
but crowned, you must “lay down your crown,” with all humble acknowledgment,
“before the throne.” (Rev. 4:10.) “No flesh must glory in his presence; but he that
glorieth must glory in the Lord; for of him are we in Christ Jesus, who of God is made
unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor.
1:29,30,31) And you must be sensible you are in such a state, as, having none of these in
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yourself; to need them in another. You must therefore be sensible that you are ignorant
and guilty, polluted and enslaved; or, as our Lord expresses it, with regard to some who
were under a Christian profession, that as a sinner “you are wretched, and miserable,
and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17)
        5. If these views be deeply impressed upon your mind you will be prepared to
receive what I am now to say. Hear, therefore, in a few words, your duty, your remedy,
and your safety; which consists in this, “That you must apply to Christ, with a deep
abhorrence of your former sins, and a firm resolution of forsaking them; forming that
resolution in the strength of his grace, and fixing your dependence in him for your
acceptance with God, even while you are purposing to do your very best, and when
you have actually done the best you ever will do in consequence of that purpose.
        6. The first and most important advice that I can give you in your present
circumstances, is, that you look to Christ and apply yourself to him. And here, say not
in your heart, “who shall ascend into heaven, to bring him down to me?” (Rom. 10:6) or,
“who shall raise me up thither, to present me before him?” The blessed “Jesus, by
whom all things consist,” (Col. 1:17) by whom the whole system of them is supported.
“forgotten as he is by most that bear his name,” “is not far from any of us;” (Acts 17:27)
nor could he have promised to have been “wherever two or three are met together in
his name,” (Matt. 18:20) but in consequence of those truly divine perfections, by which
he is every where present. Would you therefore, O sinner, desire to be saved? Go to the
Savior. Would you desire to be delivered? Look to that great Deliverer; and though you
should be overwhelmed with guilt, and shame, and fear, or horror, that you should be
incapable of speaking to him, fall down in this speechless confusion at his feet, “and
behold him as the Lamb or God, that taketh away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)
        7. Behold him therefore with an attentive eye, and say whether the sight does not
touch, and even melt thy very heart! Dost thou not feel what a foolish and what a
wretched creature thou hast been, that, for the sake of such low and sordid
gratifications and interests as those which thou hast been pursuing thou shouldst thus
“kill the Prince of Life?” (Acts 3:15) Behold the deep wounds which he bore for thee,
“look on him whom thou hast pierced, and sorely thou must mourn,” (Zech. 12:10)
unless thine heart be hardened into stone. Which of thy past sins canst thou reflect
upon, and say. “For this it is worth my while to have thus injured my Savior, and to
have exposed the Son of God to such sufferings?” And what future temptations can
arise so considerable that thou shouldst say. “For the sake of this I will crucify my Lord
again?” (Heb. 6:6) Sinner, thou must repent, thou must repent of every sin, and must
forsake it; but, if thou doest it to any purpose I well know it must be at the foot or the
cross. Thou must sacrifice every lust, even the dearest, though it should be like a “right
hand or a right eye;” (Matt. 5:29, 30) and therefore that thou mayest. if possible, be
animated to it, I have led thee to that altar on which “Christ himself was sacrificed for
thee an offering of a sweet smelling savor?” (Eph. 5:2) Thou must “yield up thyself to
God as one alive from the dead.” (Rom. 6:15) And therefore I have showed thee at what
a price he purchased thee; “for thou wast not redeemed with corruptible things, as
silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Son of God, that Lamb without
blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. 1:18,19) And now I would ask thee, as before the
Lord, what does thine own heart say to it? Art thou grieved for thy former offences? Art
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

thou willing to forsake thy sins? Art thou willing to become the cheerful, thankful
servant of him who hath purchased thee with his own blood?
        8. I will suppose such a purpose as this rising in thine heart. How determinate it
is, and how effectual it may be, I know not; what different views may arise hereafter, or
how soon the present sense may wear off. But this I assuredly know, that thou wilt
never see reason to change these views; for however thou mayest alter, the “Lord Jesus
Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever.” (Heb 13:8) And the reasons that now
recommend repentance and faith as fit and necessary, will continue invariable as long
as the perfections the blessed God are the same, and as long as his Son continues the
        9. But while you have these views and these purposes, I must remind you that
this is not all which is necessary to your salvation. You must not only purpose, but, as
God gives opportunity, you must act as those who are convinced of the evil of sin, and
of the necessity and excellence of holiness. And that you may be enabled to do so in
other instances, you must in the first place, and as the first great work of God, (as our
Lord himself calls it) “believe in him whom God hath sent;” (John 6:29) you must,
confide in him; must commit your soul into the hands of Christ to be saved by him in
his own “appointed method of salvation.” This is the great act of saving faith, and I
pray God that you may experimentally know what it means, so as to be able to say with
the apostle Paul, in the near view of death itself, “I know whom I have believed, and am
persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him until that day;” (2
Tim. 1:12) that great decisive day, which, if we are Christians, we have always in view.
To this I would urge you; and O that I could be so happy as to engage you to it while I
am illustrating it in this and the following addresses! Be assured you must not apply
yourself immediately to God absolutely, or in himself considered, in the neglect of a
Mediator. It will neither be acceptable to him, nor safe for you, to rush into his presence
without any regard to his own Son, whom he hath appointed to introduce sinners to
him. And if you come otherwise, you come as one who is not a sinner. The very manner
of presenting the address will be interpreted as a denial of that guilt with which he
knows you are chargeable; and therefore he will not admit you, nor so much as look
upon you. And accordingly our Lord, knowing how much every man living was
concerned in this, says, in the most universal terms, “No man cometh unto the Father
but by me.” (John 14:6)
        10. Apply therefore to this glorious Redeemer, amiable as be will appear to every
believing eye in the blood which he shed upon the cross, and in the wounds which he
received there. Go to him, O sinner! this day, this moment, with all thy sins about thee.
Go just as thou art; for if thou wilt never apply to him till thou art first righteous and
holy, thou wilt never be righteous and holy at all; nor canst be so on this supposition,
unless there were some way of being so without him; and then there would be no
occasion for applying to him for righteousness and holiness. It were indeed as if it
should be said that a sick man should defer his application to a physician till his health
is recovered. Let me therefore repeat it without offence, go to him just as thou art, and
say, (O that thou mayest this moment be enabled to say it from thy very soul!) “Blessed
Jesus, I am surely one of the most sinful and one of the most miserable creatures that
ever fell prostrate before thee; nevertheless I come, because I have heard that thou didst
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

once say, ‘Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’
(Matt. 12:28) I come, because I have heard that thou didst graciously say, ‘Him that
cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.’ (John 6:35) O thou Prince of Peace, O thou
King of Glory!! I am a condemned, miserable sinner; I have ruined my own soul, and
am condemned forever, if thou dost not help me and save me. I have broken thy
Father's law and thine; for thou art ‘one with him.’ (John 10:30) I have deserved
condemnation and wrath; and I am, even at this very moment, under a sentence of
everlasting destruction, a destruction which will he aggravated by all the contempt that
I have cast upon thee, O thou bleeding Lamb of God! for I cannot and will not
dissemble it before thee, that I have wronged thee, most basely and ungratefully
wronged thee, under the character of a Savior as well as or a Lord. But now I am willing
to submit to thee; and I have brought my poor trembling soul to lodge it in thine hands,
if thou wilt condescend to receive it; and if thou dost not, it must perish. O Lord, I lie at
thy feet: stretch out ‘thy golden scepter that I may live.’ (Esth. 4:11) ‘Yea, if it please the
King, let the life of my soul be given me at my petition!’ (Esth. 8:3) I have no treasure
wherewith to purchase it, I have no equivalent to give thee for it; but if that
compassionate heart of thine can find a pleasure in saving one of the most distressed
creatures under heaven, that pleasure thou mayest here find. O Lord, I have foolishly
attempted to be my own savior, but it will not do. I am sensible the attempt is vain, and
therefore I give it over, and look unto thee. On thee, blessed Jesus, who art sure and
steadfast, do I desire to fix my anchor. On thee, as the only sure foundation, would I
build my eternal hopes. To thy teaching, O thou unerring Prophet of the Lord, would I
submit: be thy doctrines ever so mysterious, it is enough for me that thou thyself hast
said it. To thine atonement, obedience, and intercession, O thou holy and ever-
acceptable High Priest, would I trust. And to thy government, O thou exalted
Sovereign, would I yield a willing, delightful subjection: in token of reverence and love,
‘I kiss the Son:’ (Psa. 2:12) I kiss the ground before his feet. I admit thee, O my Savior!
and welcome thee, with unutterable joy, to the throne in my heart. Ascend it and reign
there for ever! Subdue mine enemies, O Lord, for they are thine; and make me thy
faithful and zealous servant: faithful to death, and zealous to eternity.”
         11. Such as this must be the language of your very heart before the Lord. But
then remember, that, in consequence thereof it must be the language of your life too.
The unmeaning words of the lips would be a vain mockery. The most affectionate
transport of the passions, should it be transient and ineffectual, would be but like a
blaze of straw, presented, instead of incense, at his altar. With such humility, with such
love, with such cordial self-dedication and submission of soul must thou often prostrate
thyself in the presence of Christ; and then thou must go away, and keep him in thy
view; must go away, and live unto God through him, defying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, and behaving thyself “soberly, righteously, and godly, in this vain ensnaring
world.” (Tit. 2:12) You must make it your care to show your love by obedience, by
forming yourself, as much as possible, according to the temper and manner of Jesus, in
whom you believe. You must make it the great point of your ambition, and a nobler
view you cannot entertain, to be a living image of Christ; that, so far as circumstances
will allow, even those who have heard and read but little of him may, by observing you,
in some measure see and know what kind of a life that of the blessed Jesus was. And
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

this must be your constant care, your prevailing character, as long as you live. You must
follow him whithersoever he leads you; must follow with a cross on your shoulder,
when he commands you to “take it up;” (Matt. 16:24) and so must be faithful even unto
death, expecting “the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10)
       12. This, so far as I have been able to learn from the word of God, is the way to
safety and glory: the surest, the only way you can take. It is the way which every
faithful minister of Christ has trod, and is treading; and the way to which, as he tenders
the salvation of his own soul, he must direct others. We cannot, we would not alter it in
favor of ourselves, or of our dearest friends. It is the way in which alone, so far as we
can judge, it becomes the blessed God to save his apostate creatures. And therefore,
reader, I beseech and entreat you seriously to consider it; and let your own conscience
answer, as in the presence of God, whether you are willing to acquiesce in it or not. But
know, that to reject it is thine eternal death. For as “there is no other name under
heaven given among men whereby we can be saved,” (Acts 4:12) but this of Jesus of
Nazareth, so there is no other method but this in which Jesus himself will save us.

     The Sinner deliberating on the Expediency of falling in with this Method of Salvation.

         “Consider, O my soul! what answer wilt thou return to such proposals as these?
Surely, if I were to speak the first dictate of this corrupt and degenerate heart, it would
be, ‘This is a hard saying, and who can hear it?’ (John 6:60) To be thus humbled, thus
mortified, thus subjected! To take such a yoke upon me, and to carry it as long as I live!
To give up every darling lust, though dear to me as a right eye, and seemingly
necessary as a right hand! To submit not only my life, but my heart, to the command
and discipline of another! To have a master there, and such a master as will control
many of its favorite affections, and direct them quite into another channel! a master,
who himself represents his commands, by taking up the cross and following him! To
adhere to the strictest rules of godliness and sobriety, of righteousness and truth; not
departing from them in any allowed instance, great or small, upon any temptation, for
any advantage, to escape any inconvenience and evil, no, not even for the preservation
of life itself; but, upon a proper call of Providence, to act as if I ‘hated even my own life!’
(Luke 14:26) Lord, it is hard to flesh and blood; and yet I perceive and feel there is one
demand yet harder than this.
         “With all these precautions, with all these mortifications, the pride of my nature
would find some inward source of pleasure, might I but secretly think that I had been
my own savior, that my own wisdom and my own resolution had broken the bands and
chains of the enemy, and that I had drawn out of my own treasures the price with
which my redemption was purchased. But must I lie down before another, as guilty and
condemned, as weak and helpless? And must the obligation be multiplied, and must a
Mediator have his share too? Must I go to the cross for my salvation, and seek my glory
from the infamy of that? Must I be stripped of every pleasing pretence to righteousness,
and stand, in this respect, upon a level with the vilest of men; stand at the bar amongst
the greatest criminals, pleading guilty with them, and seeking deliverance by that very
act of grace whereby they have obtained it.
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

“I dare not deliberately say this method is unreasonable. My conscience testifies that I
have sinned, and cannot be justified before God as an innocent and obedient creature.
My conscience tells me that all these humbling circumstances are fit; that it is fit a
convicted criminal should be brought upon his knees; that a captive rebel should give
up the weapons of his rebellion and bow before his sovereign, if he expects his life. Yea,
my reason as well as my conscience tells me that it is fit and necessary that, if I am
saved at all, I should be saved from the power and love of sin, as well as from the
condemnation of it; and that, if sovereign mercy gives me a new life, after having
deserved eternal death, it is most fit I should ‘yield myself to God as alive from the
dead.’ (Rom. 6:13) But, ‘O wretched man that I am! I feel a law in my members that
wars against the law of my mind,’ (Rom. 7:23,24) and opposes the conviction of my
reason and conscience. Who shall deliver me from this bondage? Who shall make me
willing to do that which I know in my own soul to be most expedient? O Lord, subdue
any heart, and let it not be drawn so strongly one way, while the nobler powers of my
mind would direct it another! Conquer every licentious principle within, that it may be
my joy to be so wisely governed and restrained! Especially subdue my pride that lordly
corruption which so ill suits an impoverished and condemned creature, that thy way of
salvation may be made amiable to me in proportion to the degree in which it is
humbling! I feel a disposition to ‘linger in Sodom, but O be merciful to me, and pull me
out of it,’ (Gen. 19:16) before the storm of thy flaming vengeance fall, and there be no
more escaping!”
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                       CHAPTER X.

                           IN THIS WAY.

   1. Since many who have been impressed with these things suffer the impression to wear
   off.—2. Strongly as the ease speaks for itself, sinners are to be entreated to accept this
   salvation.—3. Accordingly the reader is entreated—by the majesty and mercy of God.—
   4. By the dying love of our Lord Jesus Christ.—5. By the regard due to our fellow-
   creatures.—6. By the worth of his own immortal soul.—7. The matter is solemnly left
   with the reader, as before God. The sinner yielding to these entreaties, and declaring his
   acceptance of salvation by Christ.

1. Thus far have I often known convictions and impressions to arise, (if I might judge by
the strongest appearances) which after all have worn off again. Some unhappy
circumstance of external temptation, ever joined by the inward reluctance of an
unsanctified heart to this holy and humbling scheme of redemption, has been the ruin
of multitudes. And, “through the deceitfulness of sin, they have been hardened,” (Heb.
3:25) till they seem to have been “utterly destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Prov.
29:1) And therefore, O thou immortal creature who art now reading these lines, I
beseech thee, that, while affairs are in this critical situation, while there are these
balancings of mind between accepting and rejecting that glorious Gospel, which, in the
integrity of my heart, I have now been laying before you, you would once more give me
an attentive audience while I plead, in God's behalf shall I say? or rather in your own;
while, “as an ambassador for Christ, and as though God did beseech you by me, I pray
you in Christ's stead that you would be reconciled to God,” (2 Cor. 5:20) and would not,
after these awakenings and these inquiries, by a madness which it will surely be the
doleful business of a miserable eternity to lament, reject this compassionate counsel of
God towards you.
         2. One would indeed imagine there should be no need of importunity here. One
would conclude, that as soon as perishing sinners are told that an offended God is
ready to be reconciled, that he offers them a full pardon for all their aggravated sins,
yea, that he is willing to adopt them into his family now, that he may at length admit
them to his heavenly presence; all should, with the utmost readiness and pleasure,
embrace so kind a message, and fall at his feet in speechless transports of astonishment.
gratitude, and joy. But, alas! we find it much otherwise. We see multitudes quite
unmoved, and the impressions which are made on many more are feeble and transient.
Lest it should be thus with you, O reader! let me urge the message with which I have
the honor to be charged; let me entreat you to be reconciled to God, and to accept of
pardon and salvation in the way in which it is so freely offered to you.
         3. I entreat you, “by the majesty of that God in whose name I come,” whose voice
fills all heaven with reverence and obedience. He speaks not in vain to legions of angels;
but if there could be any contention among those blessed spirits, it would be, who
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

should be first to execute his commands. Oh! let him not speak in vain to a wretched
mortal I entreat you, “by the terrors of his wrath,” who could speak to you in thunder;
who could, by one single act of his will, cut off this precarious life of yours, and send
you down to hell. I beseech you by his mercies, by his tender mercies, by the bowels of
his compassion, which still yearn over you as those of a parent over “a dear son,” over a
tender child, whom, notwithstanding his former ungrateful rebellion, “he earnestly
remembers still.” (Jer. 31:20) I beseech and entreat you, “by all this paternal goodness,”
that you do not, as it were, compel him to lose the character of the gentle Parent in that
of the righteous Judge; so that, as he threatens with regard to those whom he had just
called his sons and his daughters, “a fire shall be kindled in his anger, which shall burn
unto the lowest hell.” (Deut 32:19,22)
        4. I beseech you further, “by the name and love of your dying Savior.” I beseech
you by all the condescension of his incarnation, by that poverty to which he voluntarily
submitted, “that you might be enriched” with eternal treasures; (2 Cor. 8:9) by all the
gracious invitations which he gave, which still sound in his word, and still coming, as it
were, warm from his heart, are “sweeter than honey, or the honey-comb.” (Psa. 19:10) I
beseech you by all his glorious works of power and of wonder, which were also works
of love. I beseech you by the memory of the most benevolent person and the most
generous friend. I beseech you by the memory of what he suffered, as well as of what he
said and did; by the agony which he endured in the garden when his body was covered
“with a dew of blood.” (Luke, 22:44) I beseech you by all that tender distress which he
felt when his dearest friends “forsook hint and fled,” (Matt. 26:56) and his blood-thirsty
enemies dragged him away like the meanest of slaves, and like the vilest of criminals. I
beseech you by the blows and bruises, by the stripes and lashes which this injured
Sovereign endured while in their rebellious hands; by the shame of spitting, from which
he hid not that kind and venerable countenance. (Isa. 50:6) I beseech you by the purple
robe, the scepter of reed, and the crown of thorns which this King of Glory wore that he
might set us among the princes of heaven. (Psa. 113:8) I beseech you by the heavy
burden of “the cross,” under which he panted, and toiled, and fainted in the painful
way “to Golgotha,” (John 19:17) that he might free us from the burden of our sins. I
beseech you by the remembrance of those rude nails that tore the veins and arteries, the
nerves and tendons of his sacred hands and feet; and by that invincible, that triumphant
goodness, which, while the iron pierced his flesh, engaged him to cry out, “Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke, 23:34) I beseech you by that
unutterable anguish which he bore when lifted up upon the cross, and extended there,
as on a rack, for six painful hours, that you open your heart to those attractive
influences which have “drawn to him thousands and ten thousands.” (John 12; 32) I
beseech you by all that insult and derision which the “Lord of Glory bore there;” (Matt.
27:29-44) by that parching thirst which could hardly obtain the relief of “vinegar,” (John
19:28,29) by that doleful cry so astonishing in the mouth of the only begotten of the
Father, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) I beseech you by
that grace that subdued and pardoned “a dying malefactor;” (Luke, 23:42,43) by that
compassion for sinners, by that compassion for you, which wrought in his heart, long as
its vital motion continued, and which ended not when “he bowed his head, saying, It is
finished, and gave up the ghost.” (John 19:30) I beseech you by the triumphs of that
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

resurrection by which he was “declared to be the Son of God with power;” by the spirit
of holiness which wrought to accomplish it, (Rom. 1:4) by that gracious tenderness
which attempered all those triumphs, when he said to her out of whom he had cast
seven devils, concerning his disciples who had treated him so basely, “Go, tell my
brethren, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, unto my God and your God.” (John
20:17) I beseech you by that condescension with which he said to Thomas, when his
unbelief had made such an unreasonable demand, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold
mine hands, and reach hither thine hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not
faithless, but believing.” (John 20:27) I beseech you by that generous and faithful care of
his people which he carried up with him to the regions of glory, and which engaged
him to send down “his Spirit,” in that rich profusion of miraculous gifts, to spread the
progress of his saving word. (Acts 2:33) I beseech you by that voice of sympathy and
power with which he said to Saul, while injuring his church, “Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:4) by that generous goodness which spared that prostrate
enemy when he lay trembling at his feet, and raised him to so high a dignity as to be
“not inferior to the very chiefest apostles.” (2 Cor. 12:11) I beseech you by the memory
of all that Christ hath already done; by the expectation of all he will farther do for his
people. I beseech you, at once, by the scepter of his grace, and by that sword of his
justice with which all his incorrigible “enemies” shall be “slain before him,” (Luke
19:20) that you do not trifle away these precious moments while his Spirit is this
breathing upon you; that you do not lose an opportunity which may never return, and
on the improvement of which your eternity depends.
        5. I beseech you “by all the bowels of compassion which you owe to the faithful
ministers of Christ,” who are studying and laboring, preaching and praying, wearing
out their time, exhausting their strength, and very probably shortening their lives, for
the salvation of your soul, and of souls like yours. I beseech you by the affection with
which all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity long to see you brought back to
him. I beseech you by the friendship of the living, and by the memory of the dead, by
the ruin of those who have trifled away their days and perished in their sins, and by the
happiness of those who have embraced the Gospel, and are saved by it. I beseech you
by the great expectation of that important “day, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed
from heaven;” (2 Thess. 1:7) by “the terrors of a dissolving world;” (2 Pet. 3:10) by the
“sound of the archangel’s trumpet,” (1 Thess. 4:16) and of that infinitely more awful
sentence, “Come, ye blessed,” and “Depart, ye cursed,” with which that grand
solemnity shall close. (Matt. 25:34,41)
        6. I beseech you, finally, by your own precious and immortal soul; by the sure
prospect of a dying bed, or of a sudden surprise into the invisible state and as you
would feel one spark of comfort in your departing spirit, when your flesh and your
heart are failing. I beseech you, by your own personal appearance before the tribunal of
Christ, (for a personal appearance it must be, even to them who now sit on thrones of
their own;) by all the transports of the blessed, and by all the agonies of the damned,
then one or the other of which must be your everlasting portion. I affectionately entreat
and beseech you, in the strength of all these united considerations, as you will answer it
to me who may in that day be summoned to testify against you, and, which is
unspeakably more, as you will answer it to your conscience, as you will answer it to the
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

eternal Judge that you dismiss not these thoughts, these meditations, and these cares,
till your have brought matters to a happy issue; till you have made resolute choice of
Christ, and his appointed way of salvation; and till you have solemnly devoted yourself
to God in the, bonds of an everlasting covenant.
        7. And thus I leave the matter before you, and before the Lord. I have told you
my errand; I have discharged embassy. Stronger arguments I cannot use; more
endearing and mores awful considerations I cannot suggest. Choose, therefore, whether
you will go out, as it were clothed in sackcloth, to cast yourself at the feet of him who
now sends you these equitable and gracious terms of peace and pardon; or whether you
will hold it out till he appears sword in hand to reckon with you for your treasons and
your crimes, and for this neglected embassy among the rest of them. Fain would I hope
the best; nor can I believe that this labor of love shall be so entirely unsuccessful, that
not one soul shall be brought to the foot of Christ in cordial submission and humble
faith. “Take with you,” therefore, “words, and turn unto the Lord;” (Hos. 14:2) and O
that those which follow might, in effect at least, be the genuine language of every one
that reads them.

      Sinner yielding to these Entreaties, and declaring acceptance of Salvation by Christ.

        “Blessed Lord, it is enough! It is too much! Surely there needs not this variety of
arguments this importunity of persuasion, to court me to be happy, to prevail on me to
accept of pardon, of life, of eternal glory. Compassionate Savior, my soul is subdued; so
that I trust the language of thy grief is become that of my penitence, and I may say, ‘my
heart is melted like wax in the midst of my bowels.’ (Psa. 22:14)
        “O gracious Redeemer! I have already neglected thee too long. I have too often
injured thee: have crucified thee afresh by my guilt and impenitence, as if I had taken
pleasure in ‘putting thee to an open shame.’ (Heb. 6:6) But my heart now bows itself
before thee in humble, unfeigned submission. I desire to make no terms with thee but
these—that I may be entirely thine. I cheerfully present thee with a blank, entreating
thee that thou will do me the honor to signify upon it what is thy pleasure. Teach me, O
Lord, what thou wouldst have me to do; for I desire to learn the lesson, and to learn it
that I may practice it. If it be more than my feeble powers can answer, thou wilt, I hope,
give me more strength; and in that strength I will serve thee. O receive a soul which
thou hast made willing to be thine!
        “No more, O blessed Jesus, no more is it necessary to beseech and entreat me.
Permit me rather to address myself to thee with all the importunity of a perishing
sinner, that at length sees and knows ‘there is salvation in no other’ (Acts 4:12) Permit
me now, Lord, to come and throw myself at thy feet like a helpless outcast that has no
shelter but in thy gracious compassion! like one ‘pursued by the avenger of blood,’ and
seeking earnestly an admittance ‘into the city of refuge!’ (Josh. 20:2,3)
        “’I wait for the Lord; my soul doth wait; and in thy word do I hope,’ (Psa. 130:5)
that thou wilt ‘receive me graciously.’ (Hos. 14:2) My soul confides in thy goodness, and
adores it. I adore the patience which has borne with me so long; and the grace that now
makes me heartily willing to be thine: to be thine on thine own terms, thine on any
terms. O secure this treacherous heart to thyself! O unite me to thee in such inseparable
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

bonds, that none of the allurements of flesh and blood, none of the vanities of an
ensnaring world, none of the solicitations of sinful companions, may draw me back
from thee, and plunge me into new guilt and ruin! ‘Be surety, O Lord, for thy servant
for good,’ (Psa. 119:122) that I may stilt keep my hold on thee, and so on eternal life; till
at length I know more fully, by joyful and everlasting experience, how complete a
Savior thou art. Amen."
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                      CHAPTER XI.


   1. Universal success not to be expected.—2-4. Yet, as unwilling absolutely to give up
   any, the author addresses thou who doubt the truth of Christianity, urging an inquiry
   into its evidences, and directing to prayer methods for that purpose.—5 Those who
   determine to give it up without further examination.—6. And presume to set themselves
   to oppose it.—7, 8. Those who speculatively assent to Christianity as true, and yet will
   sit down without any practical regard to its most important and acknowledged truths.
   Such are dismissed with a representation of the absurdity of their conduct on their own
   principles.—9, 10. With a solemn warning of its fatal consequences.—11. And a
   compassionate prayer, which concludes this chapter, and this part of the work.

1. I would humbly hope that the preceding chapters will be the means of awakening
some stupid and insensible sinners, the means of convincing them of their need of
Gospel-salvation, and of engaging some cordially to accept it. Yet I cannot flatter myself
so far as to hope this should be the case with regard to all into whose hands this book
shall come. “What am I, alas! better than my fathers,” (1 Kings 19:4) or better than my
brethren, who have in all ages been repeating their complaint, with regard to
multitudes, that they “have stretched out their hand all day long to a disobedient and
gainsaying people!” (Rom. 10:21) Many such may perhaps be found in the number of
my readers; many, on whom neither considerations of terror nor of love wilt make any
deep and lasting impression; many, who, as our Lord learned by experience to express
it, “when we pipe to them, will not dance; and when we mourn unto them; will not
lament.” (Matt. 11:17) I can say no more to persuade them; if they make light of what I
have already said. Here, therefore, we must part: in this chapter I must take my leave of
them; and O that I could do it in such a manner as to fix, at parting, some conviction
upon their hearts, that though I seem to leave them for a little while, and send them
back to review again the former chapters, as those in which alone they have any present
concern, they might soon, as it were, overtake me again, and find a suitableness in the
remaining part of this treatise, which at present they cannot possibly find. Unhappy
creatures. I quit you as a physician quits a patient whom he loves, and is just about to
give over as incurable: he returns again and again and re-examines the several
symptoms, to observe whether there be not some one of them wore favorable than the
rest, which may encourage a renewed application.
        2. So would I once more return to you. You do not find in yourself any
disposition to embrace the Gospel, to apply yourself to Christ, to give yourself up to
thee service of God, and to make religion the business of your life. But if I cannot
prevail upon you to do this, let me engage you, at least, to answer me, or rather to
answer your own conscience, “Why you will not do it?” is it owing to any secret
disbelief of the great principles of religion? If it be, the case is different from what I have
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

yet considered, and the cure must be different. This is not a place to combat with the
scruples of infidelity. Nevertheless, I would desire you seriously to inquire “How far
those scruples extend?” Do they affect any particular doctrine of the Gospel on which
my argument hath turned; or do they affect the whole Christian revelation? Or do they
reach yet farther, and extend themselves to natural religion, as well as revealed; so that
it should be a doubt with you, whether there be any God, and providence, and future
state, or not? As these cases are all different, so it will be of great importance to
distinguish the one from the other; that you may know on what principles to build as
certain, in the examination of those concerning which you are yet in doubt. But,
whatever these doubts are, I would farther ask you, “How long have they continued,
and what method have you taken to get them resolved?” Do you imagine, that, in
matters of such moment, it will be an allowable case for you to trifle on, neglecting to
inquire into the evidence of these things, and then plead your not being satisfied in that
evidence, as an excuse for not acting according to them? Must not the principles of
common sense assure you, that, if these things be true, as when you talk of doubting
about them, you acknowledge it at least possible they may be, they are of infinitely
greater importance than any of the affairs of life, whether of business or pleasure, for
the sake of which you neglect them? Why then do you continue indolent and
unconcerned, from week to week, and from month to month, which probably
conscience tells you is the case?
        3. Do you ask, “What method you should take to be resolved?” It is no hard
question. Open your eyes: set yourself to think: let conscience speak, and verily do I
believe, that, if it be not seared in an uncommon degree, you will find shrewd
forebodings of the certainty both of natural and revealed religion, and of the absolute
necessity of repentance, faith, and holiness, to a life of future felicity. If you area person
of any learning, you cannot but know by what writers, and in what treatises, these great
truths are defended. And if you are not, you may find, in almost every town and
neighborhood, persons capable of informing you in thee main evidences of Christianity,
and of answering such scruples against it as unlearned minds may have met with. Set
yourself, then, in the name of God, immediately to consider the matter. If you study at
all, bend your studies close this way, and trifle not with mathematics, or poetry or
history, or law, or physic, which are all comparatively light as a feather, while you
neglect this. Study the argument as for your life; for much more than life depends on it.
See how far you are satisfied, and why that satisfaction reaches no farther. Compare
evidences on both sides. And, above all, consider the design and tendency of the New
Testament. See to what it will lead you, and all them that cordially obey it, and then say
whether it be not good. And consider how naturally its truth is connected with its
goodness. Trace the character and sentiments of its authors, whose living image, if I
may be allowed the expression, is still preserved in their writings; and then ask your
heart, can you think this was a forgery, an impious, cruel forgery? for such it mast have
been, if it were a forgery at all: a scheme to mock God, and to ruin men, even the best of
men, such as reverenced Conscience, and would abide all extremities for what they
apprehended to be truth. Put the question to your own heart, Can I in my conscience
believe it to be such an imposture? Can I look up to an omniscient God, and say, “O
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

Lord, thou knowest that it is in reverence to thee, and in love to truth and virtue, that I
reject this book, and the method to happiness here laid down.”
        4. But there are difficulties in the way. And what then? Have those difficulties
never been cleared? Go to the living advocates for Christianity, to those of whose
abilities, candor and piety you have the best opinion, if your prejudices will give you
leave to have a good opinion of any such; tell them your difficulties; hear their
solutions; weigh them seriously, as those who know they must answer it to God; and
while doubts continue, follow the truth as far as it will lead you, and take heed that you
do not a “imprison it in unrighteousness.” (Rom. 11:8) Nothing appears more
inconsistent and absurd than for a man solemnly to pretend dissatisfaction in the
evidences of the Gospel, as a reason why he cannot in conscience be a thorough
Christian; when at the same time he violates the most apparent dictates of reason and
conscience, and lives in vices condemned even by the heathen. O sirs! Christ has judged
concerning such, and judged most righteously and most wisely: “They do evil, and
therefore they hate the light; neither come they to the light, lest their deeds should be
made manifest, and be reproved.” (John 3:20) But there is a light that will make
manifest and reprove their works, to which they will be compelled to come, and the
painful scrutiny of which they shall be forced to abide.
        5. In the mean time, if you are determined to inquire no farther into the matter
now, give me leave, at least, from a sincere concern that you may not heap upon your
head more aggravated ruin, to entreat you that you would be cautious how you expose
yourself to yet greater danger. by what you must yourself own to be unnecessary; I
mean attempts to prevent others from believing the truth of the Gospel. Leave them; for
God's sake, and for your own, in possession of those pleasures and those hopes which
nothing but Christianity can give them; and act not as if you were solicitous to add to
the guilt of an infidel the tenfold damnation which they, who have been the perverters
and destroyers of the souls of others, must expect to meet, if that Gospel, which they
have so adventurously opposed, shall prove. as it certainly will, a serious, and to them a
dreadful truth.
        6. If I cannot prevail here, (but the pride of displaying a superiority of
understanding should bear on such a reader, even in opposition to his own favorite
maxims of the innocence of error and the equality of all religions consistent with social
virtue, to do his utmost to trample down the Gospel with contempt) I would, however,
dismiss him with one proposal which I think the importance of the affair may fully
justify. If you have done with your examination into Christianity, and determine to live
and conduct yourself as it were assuredly false, sit down, then, and make a
memorandum of that determination. Write it down:
        “On such a day of such a year, I deliberately resolved that I would live and die
rejecting Christianity myself, and doing all I could to overthrow it. This day I
determined, not only to renounce all subjection to, and expectation from Jesus of
Nazareth, but also to make it a serious part of the business of my life to destroy, as far
as I possibly can, all regard to him in the minds of others, and to exert my most
vigorous efforts, in the way of reasoning or of ridicule to sink the credit of his religion,
and, if it be possible, to root it out of the world; in calm, steady defiance of that day,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

when his followers say, He shall appear in so much majesty and terror, to execute the
vengeance. threatened to his enemies.”
        Dare you write this, and sign it? I firmly believe that many a man, who would be
thought a deist. and endeavors to increase the number, would not. And if you in
particular dare not do it, whence does that small remainder of caution arise? The cause
is plain. There is in your conscience some secret apprehension that this rejected, this
opposed, this derided Gospel may, after all, prove true. And if there be such an
apprehension, then let conscience do its office, and convict you of the impious madness
of acting as if it were most certainly and demonstrably false. Let it tell you at large, how
possible it is that “haply you may be found fighting against God,” (Acts 5:39) that, hold
as you are in defying the terrors of the Lord, you may possibly fall into his hands; may
chance to hear that despised sentence, which, when: you hear it from the mouth of the
eternal Judge, you will not be able to despise. I will repeat it again. In spite of all your
scorn: you may hear the King say to you. “Depart, accursed. into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41) And now, go and pervert and
burlesque the Scripture, go and satirize the character of its heroes, and ridicule the
sublime discourses of its prophets and its apostles, as some have done, who have left
behind them but the short lived monuments of their ignorance. their profaneness. and
their malice. Go and spread like them, the banners of infidelity and pride thyself in the
number of credulous creatures listed under them. But take heed lest the insulted
Galilean direct a secret arrow to thine heart, and stop thy licentious breath before it has
finished the next sentence thou wouldst utter against him.
        7. I will turn myself from the deist or the sceptic, and direct my address to the
nominal Christian; if he may upon any terms be called a Christian, who feels not, after
all I have pleaded a disposition to subject himself to the government and the grace of
that Savior whose name he hears: O sinner, thou art turning away from my Lord, in
whose cause I speak; but let me earnestly entreat thee seriously to consider why thou
art turning away; and “to whom thou wilt go,” from him whom thou acknowledgst “to
have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:63.) You call yourself a Christian and yet will not
by any means be persuaded to seek salvation in good earnest from and through Jesus
Christ, whom you call your Master and Lord. How do you for a moment excuse this
negligence to your own conscience? If I had urged you on any controverted point it
might have altered the case. If I had labored hard to make you the disciple of any
particular party of Christians, your delay might have been more reasonable; nay,
perhaps your refusing to acquiesce might have been an act of apprehended duty to our
common Master. But is it matter of controversy among Christians, whether there be a
great, holy, and righteous God; and whether such a Being, whom we agree to own,
should be reverenced and loved, or neglected and dishonored? Is it matter of
controversy whether a sinner should deeply and seriously repent of his sins, or whether
be should go on in them? Is it a disputed point amongst us, whether Jesus became
incarnate, and died upon the cross for the redemption of sinners, or not? And if it be
not, can it be disputed by them who believe him to be the Son of God and the Savior of
men, whether a sinner should seek to him, or neglect hint; or whether one who
professes to be a Christian should depart from iniquity, or give himself up to the
practice or it? Are the precepts of our great Master written so obscurely in his word,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

that there should be room seriously to question whether he require a devout, holy,
humble, spiritual, watchful, self-denying life, or whether he allow the contrary? Has
Christ, after all big pretensions of bringing life and immortality to light, left it more
uncertain than he found it, whether there be any future state of happiness and misery,
or for whom these states are respectively intended? Is it a matter of controversy
whether God will, or will not, “bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing,
whether it be good, or whether it be evil?” (Eccl. 12:14) or whether, at the conclusion of
that judgment, “the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the
righteous into life eternal?” (Matt. 25:46) You will not I am sure, for very shame,
pretend any doubt about these things, and yet call yourself a Christian. Why then will
you not be persuaded to lay them to heart, and to act as duty and interest so evidently
require? O sinner, the cause is too obvious, a cause indeed quite unworthy of being
called a reason. It is because thou art blinded and besotted with thy vanities and thy
lusts. It is because thou hast some perishing trifle, which charms thy imagination and
thy senses, so that it is dearer to thee than God and Christ, than thy own soul and its
salvation. It is, in a word, because thou art still under the influence of that carnal mind,
which, whatever pious forms it may sometimes admit and pretend, “is enmity against
God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7) And
therefore thou art in the very case of those wretches, concerning whom our Lord said in
the days of his flesh, “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life,” (John 5:40)
and therefore “ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
        8. In this case I see not what it can signify, to renew those expostulations and
addresses which I have made in the former chapters. As our blessed Redeemer says of
those who reject his Gospel, “Ye have both seen and hated both me and my Father,”
(John 15:24) so may I truly say with regard to you, I have endeavored to show you, in
the plainest and the clearest words, both Christ and the Father; I have urged the
obligations you are under to both; I have laid before you your guilt and your
condemnation; I have pointed out the only remedy; I have pointed out the rock on
which I have built my own eternal hopes, and the way in which alone I expect
salvation. I have recommended those things to you, which, if God gives me an
opportunity, I will, with my dying breath, earnestly and affectionately recommend to
my own children, and to all the dearest friends that I have upon earth, who may then be
near me, esteeming it the highest token or my friendship, the surest proof of my love to
them. And if, believing the Gospel to be true, you resolve to reject it, I have nothing
farther to say, but that you must abide the consequence. Yet as Moses, when he went
out from the presence of Pharaoh for the last time, finding his heart yet more hardened
by all the judgments and deliverances with which he had formerly been exercised,
denounced upon him “God's passing through the land in terror to smite the firstborn
with death, and warned him of that great and lamentable cry, which the sword of the
destroying angel should raise throughout all his realm;” (Exod. 11:4-6) so will I, sinner,
now when I am quitting thee, speak to thee yet again, “whether thou wilt hear, or
whether thou wilt forbear,” (Ezek. 2:7) and denounce that much more terrible
judgment; which the sword of divine vengeance, already whetted and drawn, and
“bathed, as it were, in heaven,” (Isai. 34:5) is preparing against thee; which shall end in
a much more doleful cry, though thou wert greater and more obstinate than that
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

haughty monarch. Yes, sinner, that I may, with the apostle Paul, when turning to others
who are more likely to hear me, “shake my raiment, and say, I am pure from your
blood,” (Acts 18.6) I will once more tell you what the end of these things will be. And, O
that I could speak to purpose! O that I could thunder in thine ear such a peal of terror as
might awaken thee, and be too loud to be drowned in all the noise of carnal mirth, or to
be deadened by those dangerous opiates with which thou art contriving to stupify thy
         9. Seek what amusements and entertainments thou wilt, O sinner! I tell thee, if
thou wert equal in dignity, and power, and magnificence, to the “great monarch of
Babylon, thy pomp shalt be brought down to the grave, and all the sound of thy viols;
the worm shall be spread under thee, and the worm shall cover thee;” (Isai. 14:11) yes,
sinner, “the end of these things is death!” (Rom. 6:21) death in its most terrible sense to
thee, if this continue thy governing temper. Thou canst not avoid it; and, if it be possible
for any thing that I can say to prevent, thou shalt not forget it. Your “strength is not the
strength of stones, nor is your flesh of brass.” (Job 6:12) You are accessible to disease, as
well as others; and if some sudden accident do not prevent it, we shall soon see how
heroically you will behave yourself on a dying bed, and in the near views of eternity.
You, that now despise Christ, and trifle with his Gospel, we shall see you droop and
languish; shall see all your relish for your carnal recreations and your vain companions
lost. And if perhaps one and another of them bolt in upon you, and is brutish and
desperate enough to attempt to entertain a dying man with a gay story, or a profane
jest, we shall see how you will relish it. We shall see what comfort you will have in
reflecting on what is past, or what hope in looking forward to what is to come. Perhaps,
trembling and astonished, you will then be inquiring; in a wild kind of consternation,
“what you shall do to be saved:” calling for the ministers of Christ, whom you now
despise for the earnestness with which they would labor to save your soul! and it
maybe falling into a delirium, or dying convulsions, before they can come. Or perhaps
we may see you flattering yourself, through a long, lingering illness, that you shall still
recover, and putting off any serious reflection and conversation, for fear it should
overset your spirits. And the cruel kindness of friends and physicians, as if they were in
league with Satan to make the destruction of your soul as sure as possible, may perhaps
abet this fatal deceit.
         10. And if any of these probable cases happen, that is, in short, unless a miracle of
grace snatch you “as a brand out of the burning,” when the flames have, as it were,
already taken hold of you; all these gloomy circumstances, which pass in the chambers
of illness and on the bed of death, are but the forerunners of infinitely more dreadful
things. Oh! who can describe them? Who can imagine them? When surviving friends
are tenderly mourning over the breathless corpse, and taking a fond farewell of it before
it is laid to consume away in the dark and silent grave, into what hands, O sinner! will
thy soul be fallen? What scenes will open upon thy separate spirit, even before thy
deserted flesh be cold, or thy sightless eyes are closed? It shall then know what it is to
return to God, to be rejected by him as having rejected his Gospel and his Son, and
despised the only treaty of reconciliation; and that so amazingly condescending and
gracious! Thou shalt know what it is to be disowned by Christ, whom thou hast
refused to entertain; and what it is, as the certain and immediate consequence of that, to
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

be left in the hands of the malignant spirits of hell. There will be no more-friendship
then: none to comfort, none to alleviate thy agony and distress; but, on the contrary, all
around thee laboring to aggravate and increase them. Thou shalt pass away the
intermediate years of the separate state in dreadful expectation, and bitter outcries of
horror and remorse. And then thou shalt hear the trumpet of the archangel, in whatever
cavern of that gloomy world thou art lodged. Its sound shall penetrate thy prison,
where, doleful and horrible as it is, thou shalt nevertheless wish that thou mightest still
be allowed to hide thy guilty head, rather than show it before the face of that awful
Judge; before whom “heaven and earth are fleeing away.” (Rev. 20:11) But thou must
come forth, and be reunited to a body now formed for ever to endure agonies, which in
this mortal state would have dissolved it in a moment. You would not be persuaded to
come to Christ before: you would stupidly neglect him, in spite of reason, in spite of
conscience, in spite of all the tender solicitations of the Gospel, and the repeated
admonitions of its most faithful ministers. But now, sinner, you shall have an interview;
with him; if that may be called an interview, in which you will not dare to lift up your
head to view the face of your tremendous and inexorable Judge. There, at least, how
distant soever the time of our life and the place of our abode may have been, there shall
we see how courageously your heart will endure, and how “strong your hands will be
when the lord doth this.” (Ezek. 22:14) There shall I see thee, O reader! whoever thou
art that goest on in thine impenitency, among thousands and ten thousands of
despairing wretches, trembling and confounded. There shall I hear thy cries among the
rest, rending the very heavens in vain. The Judge will rise from his throne with majestic
composure, and leave thee to be hurried down to those everlasting burnings, to which
his righteous vengeance hath doomed thee, because thou wouldst not be saved from
them. Hell shall shut its mouth upon thee for ever, and the sad echo of thy groans and
outcries shall be lost, amidst the hallelujahs of heaven, to all that find mercy of the Lord
in that day.
        11. This will most assuredly be the end of these things; and thou, as a nominal
Christian, professest to know, and to believe it. It moves my heart at least, if it moves
not thine. I firmly believe, that every one, who himself obtains salvation and glory will
bear so much of his Savior's image in wisdom and goodness, in zeal for God, and a
steady regard to the happiness of the whole creation, that he will behold this sad scene
with calm approbation, and without any painful commotion of mind. But as yet I am
flesh and blood; and therefore my bowels are troubled, and mine eyes often overflow
with grief to think that wretched sinners will have no more compassion upon their own
souls; to think that in spite of all admonition, they will obstinately run upon final,
everlasting destruction. It would signify nothing here to add a prayer or a meditation
for your use. Poor creature, you will not meditate! you will not pray! Yet as I have often
poured out my heart in prayer over a dying friend, when the force of his distemper has
rendered him incapable of joining with me, so I will now apply myself to God for you,
O unhappy creature! And if you disdain so much as to read what my compassion
dictates, yet I hope, they who have felt the power of the Gospel on their own souls, as
they cannot but pity such as you, will join with me in such cordial, though broken
petitions as these:
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

             A prayer in behalf of an Impenitent Sinner, in the case just described.

        "Almighty God! ‘with thee all things are possible.” (Matt. 10:26) To thee therefore
do I humbly apply myself in behalf of this dear immortal soul, which thou here seest
perishing in its sins, and hardening itself against that everlasting Gospel which has been
the power of God to the salvation of so many thousands and millions. Thou art witness,
O blessed God! thou art witness to the plainness and seriousness with which the
message has been delivered. It is in thy presence that these awful words have been
written; and in thy presence have they been read. Be pleased, therefore, to record it in
the book of thy remembrance, that ‘so, if this wicked man dieth in his iniquity, after the
warning has been so plainly and solemnly given him, his blood may not be required at
my hand,’ (Ezek. 33:8,9) nor at the hand of that Christian friend, whoever he is, by
whom this book has been procured for him, with a sincere desire for the salvation of his
soul. Be witness, O blessed ‘Jesus, in the day in which thou shalt judge the secrets of all
hearts,’ (Rom. 2:16) that thy Gospel hath been preached to this hardened wretch, and
salvation by thy blood hath been offered him, though he continued to despise it. And
may thy unworthy messenger be ‘unto God a sweet savor in Christ,’ in this very soul,
even though it should at last perish! (2 Cor. 2:15)
        “But, oh! that after all his hardness and impenitence, thou wouldst still be
pleased, by the sovereign power of thine efficacious grace, to awaken and convert him!
Well do we know, O thou Lord of universal nature! that he who made the soul can
cause the sword of conviction to come near and enter into it. O that, in thine infinite
wisdom and love, thou wouldst find out a way to interpose, and save this sinner from
death, from eternal death! O that, if it be thy blessed will, thou wouldst immediately do
it! Thou knowest, O God, he is a dying creature! thou knowest that if any thing be done
for him, it must be done quickly! thou seest, in the book of thy wise and gracious
decrees, a moment marked, which must seal him up in an unchangeable state! O that
thou wouldst lay hold on him while he is yet ‘joined to the living, and hath hope!’ (Eccl.
9:4) Thy immutable laws, in the dispensation of grace, forbid that a soul should be
converted and renewed after its entrance into the invisible world: O let thy sacred Spirit
work while he is yet as it were within the sphere of its operations! Work, O God, by
whatever method thou pleasest; only have mercy upon him! O Lord! have mercy upon
him, that he sink not into these depths of damnation and ruin, on the very brink of
which he so evidently appears! O that thou wouldst bring him, if that be necessary, and
seem to thee most expedient, into any depths of calamity and distress! O that, with
Manasseh, he may be ‘taken in the thorns, and laden with the fetters of affliction,’ if that
may but cause him to ‘seek the God of his fathers.’ (2 Chro. 33:11,12)
        “But I prescribe not to thine infinite wisdom. Thou hast displayed thy power in
glorious and astonishing instances; which I thank thee that I have so circumstantially
known, and by the knowledge of them have been fortified against the rash confidence
of those who weakly and arrogantly pronounce that to be impossible, which is actually
done. Thou hast, I know, done that, by a single thought in retirement, when the happy
man reclaimed by it hath been far from means, and far from ordinances, which neither
the most awful admonitions, nor the most tender entreaties, nor the most terrible
afflictions. nor the most wonderful deliverances, had been able to effect.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        “Glorify thy name, O Lord, and glorify thy grace, in the method which to thine
infinite wisdom shall seem most expedient! Only grant, I beseech thee, with all humble
submission to thy will, that this sinner may be saved! or if not, that the labor of this part
of this treatise may not be altogether in vain; but that if some reject it to their
aggravated ruin, others may hearken and live! That those thy servants, who have
labored for their deliverance and happiness may view them in the regions of glory, as
the heaven, ‘to him who hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
and hath made us,’ of condemned rebels, and accursed, polluted sinners, ‘kings and
priests unto God; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever!’ (Rev. 1:5,6) Amen."
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XII.

                        ANY HOPE OF SALVATION.

   1—4. The case described at large.—5. As it frequently occurs.—6. Granting all that the
   dejected soul charges on itself.—7. The invitations and promises of Christ give hope.—8
   The reader urged, under all his burdens and fears, to an humble application to him.
   Which is accordingly exemplified in the concluding Reflection and Prayer.

1. I have now done with those unhappy creatures who despise the Gospel, and with
those who neglect it. With pleasure do I now turn myself to those who will hear me
with more regard. Among the various cases which now present themselves to my
thoughts, and demand my tender, affectionate, respectful care, there is none more
worthy of compassion than that which I have mentioned in the title of this chapter,
none which requires a more immediate attempt of relief.
        2. It is very possible some afflicted creature may be ready to cry out, “It is
enough: aggravate my grief and my distress no more. The sentence you have been so
awfully describing, as what shall he passed and executed on the impenitent and
unbelieving, is my sentence; and the terrors of it are my terrors. ‘For mine iniquities
have gone up into the heavens,’ and my transgressions have reached unto the clouds.
(Rev. 18:5) My case is quite singular. Surely there never was so great a sinner as I. I have
received so many mercies, have enjoyed so many advantages, I have heard so many
invitations or Gospel grace; and yet my heart has been so hard, and my nature is so
exceeding sinful, and the number and aggravating circumstances of my provocations
have been such, that I dare not hope. It is enough that God hath supported me thus
long; it is enough, that, after so many years of wickedness, I am yet out of hell. Every
day’s reprieve is a mercy at which I am astonished. I lie down, and wonder that death
and damnation have not seized me in my walks the day past. I arise, and wonder that
my bed has not been my grave; wonder that my soul is not separated from my flesh,
and surrounded with devils and damned spirits.”
        3. “I have indeed heard the message of salvation; but, alas! it seems no message
of salvation to me. There are happy souls that have hope; and their hope is indeed in
Christ and the grace of God manifest in him. But they feel in their hearts an
encouragement to apply to him, whereas I dare not do it. Christ and grace are things in
which I fear I have no part, and must expect none. There are exceeding rich and
precious promises in the word of God; but they are to me as a sealed book, and are hid
from me as to any personal use. I know Christ is able to save: I know he is willing to
save some. But that he should be willing to save me—such a polluted, such a provoking
creature, as God knows, and as conscience knows, I have been, and to this day am—this
I know not how to believe; and the utmost that I can do towards believing it, is to
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

acknowledge that it is not absolutely impossible, and that I do not lie down in complete
despair; though, alas! I seem upon the borders of it, and expect every day and hour to
call into it.”
        4. I should not, perhaps, have entered so fully into this case, if I had not seen
many in it; and I will add, reader, for your encouragement, if it be your case, several,
who now are in the number of the most established, cheerful, and useful Christians.
And I hope divine grace will add you to the rest, if “out of these depths you he enabled
to cry unto God;” (Psa. 130:1) and though, like Jonah, you may seem to be cast out from
his presence, yet still, with Jonah, you “look towards his holy temple.” (Jonah 2:4)
        5. Let it not be imagined, that it is in any neglect of that blessed Spirit, whose
office it is to be the great Comforter, that I now attempt to reason you out of this
disconsolate frame; for it is as the great source or reason, that he deals with rational
creatures; and it is in the use of rational means and considerations that he may most
justly be expected to operate. Give me leave, therefore, to address myself calmly to you,
and to ask you, what reason you have for all these passionate complaints and
accusations against yourself? What reason have you to suggest that your case is
singular, when so many have told you they have felt the same? What reason have you
to conclude so hardly against yourself, when the Gospel speaks in such favorable
terms? Or, what reason to imagine, that the gracious things it says are not intended for
you? You know, indeed, more of the corruption of your own heart, than you know of
the hearts or others; and you make a thousand charitable excuses for their visible
failings and infirmities, which you make not for your own. And it may be, some of
those whom you admire as eminent saints when compared with you, are on their part
humbling themselves in the dust, as unworthy to be numbered among the least of
God’s people, and wishing themselves like you; in whom they think they see much
more good, and much less of evil, than in themselves.
        6. But to suppose the worst, what if you were really the vilest sinner that ever
lived upon the face of the earth? What if “your iniquities had gone up into the heavens”
every day, and “your transgressions had reached unto the clouds,” (Rev. 18:5) reached
thither with such horrid aggravations, that earth and heaven should have had reason to
detest you as a monster of impiety? Admitting all this, “is any thing too hard for the
Lord?” (Gen. 18:14) Are any sins, of which a sinner can repent, of so deep a dye, that the
blood of Christ cannot wash them away! Nay, though it would be daring wickedness
and monstrous folly, for any “to sin that grace may abound,” (Rom. 6:1) yet had you
indeed raised your account beyond all that divine grace has ever yet pardoned, who
should “limit the holy One of Israel?” (Psa. 78:41) or who shall pretend to say, that it is
impossible that God may, for your very wretchedness, choose you out from others, to
make you a monument of mercy, and a trophy of hitherto unparalleled grace? The
apostle Paul strongly intimates this to have been the case with regard to himself; and
why might not you likewise, if indeed “the chief of sinners,” obtain mercy, that in you,
as the chief, “Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who
shall hereafter believe?” (1 Tim. 1:15,16)
        7. Gloomy as your apprehensions are, I would ask you plainly, do you in your
conscience think that Christ is not able to save you? What! is he not “able to save, even
to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him?” (Heb. 7:25) Yes, you will say,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

abundantly able to do it; but I dare not imagine that he will do it. And how do you
know that he will not? He has helped the very greatest sinners or all that have yet
applied themselves to him; and he has made thee offers of grace and salvation in the
most engaging and encouraging terms. “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and
drink:” (John 7:37) “let him that is a-thirst come; and whosoever will, let him take of the
water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17) “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) And once more, “Him that cometh unto me, I
will in no wise cast out.” (John, 4:37) “True,” will you say, “none that are given him by
the Father: could I know I were of that number, I could then apply cheerfully to him.”
But, dear reader, let me entreat you to look into the text itself, and see whether that
limitation he expressly added there. Do you there read, none of them whom the Father
hath given me shall be cast out? The words are in a much more encouraging form; and
why should you frustrate his wisdom and goodness by such an addition of your own?
“Add not to his words, lest he reprove thee;” (Prov. 30:6) take them as they stand, and
drink in the consolation of them. Our Lord knew into what perplexity some serious
minds might possibly be thrown by what he had before been saying, “All that the
Father hath given me shall come unto me;” and therefore, as it were on purpose to
balance it, he adds those gracious words, “him that cometh unto me I will in no wise,”
by no means, on no consideration whatsoever, “cast out.”
        8. If, therefore, you are already discouraged and terrified at the greatness of your
sins, do not add to their weight and number that one greater, and worse than all the
rest, a distrust of the faithfulness and grace of the blessed Redeemer. Do not, so far as in
you lies, oppose all the purposes of his love to you. O distressed soul! whom dost thou
dread? To whom dost thou tremble to approach? Is there any thing so terrible in a
crucified Redeemer, in the Lamb that was slain? If thou carriest thy soul, almost sinking
under the burden of its guilt, to lay it down at his feet, what dost thou offer him, but the
spoil which he bled and died to recover and possess? And did he purchase it so dearly,
that he might reject it with disdain? Go to him directly, and fall down in his presence,
and plead that misery of thine, which thou hast now been pleading in a contrary view,
as an engagement to your own soul to make the application, and as an argument with
the compassionate Savior to receive you. Go, and be assured, that “where sin hath
abounded, there grace shall much more abound.” (Rom. 5:20) Be assured, that, if one
sinner can promise himself a more certain welcome than another, it is not he that is least
guilty and miserable, but he that is most deeply humbled before God tinder a sense of
that misery and guilt, and lies the lowest in the apprehension of it.

 Reflections on these Encouragements, ending in an humble and earnest Application to Christ
                                         for Mercy.

       “O my soul! what sayest thou to these things? Is there not at least a possibility of
help from Christ? And is there a possibility of help any other way? Is any other name
given under heaven, whereby we can be saved? I know there is none. (Acts 4:12) I must
then say, like the lepers of Israel, (2 Kings 7:4) ‘If I sit here, I perish; and if I make my
application in vain, I can but die.’ But peradventure he may save my soul alive. I will
therefore arise, and go 'into him; or rather, believing him here, by his spiritual presence,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

sinful and miserable as I am, I will this moment fall down on my face before him, and
pour out my soul unto him.
        “Blessed Jesus, I present myself unto thee, as a wretched creature, driven indeed
by necessity to do it. For surely, were not that necessity urgent and absolute, I should
not dare, for very shame, to appear in thine holy and majestic presence. I am fully
convinced that my sins and my follies have been inexcusably great, more than I can
express, more than I can conceive. I feel a source of sin in my corrupt and degenerate
nature, which pours out iniquity as a fountain sends out its water, and makes me a
burden and a terror to myself. Such aggravations have attended my transgressions, that
it looks like presumption so much as to ask pardon for them. And yet, would it not be
greater presumption to say, that they exceed thy mercy, and the efficacy of thy blood; to
say, that thou host power and grace enough to pardon and save only sinners of a lower
order, while such as I lie out of thy reach? Preserve me from that blasphemous
imagination! Preserve me from that unreasonable suspicion! Lord, thou canst do all
things, neither is there any thought of mine heart withholden from thee. (Job 42:2) Thou
art indeed, as thy word declares able to save unto the uttermost. (Heb. 7:25) And
therefore, breaking through all the oppositions of shame and fear that would keep me
from thee, I come and lie down as in the dust before thee. Thou knowest, O Lord! all my
sins, and all my follies. (Psa. 69:5) I cannot, and I hope! may say, I would not disguise
them before thee, or set myself to find out plausible excuses. Accuse me, Lord, as thou
pleasest; and I will ingenuously plead guilty to all thine accusations. I will own myself
as great a sinner as thou callest me; but I am still a sinner that comes unto thee for
pardon. If I must die, it shall be submitting, and owning the justice of the fatal stroke. If
I perish, it shall be laying hold, as it were, on the horns of the altar: laying myself down
at thy foot-stool, though I have been such a rebel against thy throne. Many have
received a full pardon there; have met with favor even beyond their hopes. And are all
thy compassions, O blessed Jesus! exhausted? And wilt thou now begin to reject an
humble creature who flies to thee for life, and pleads nothing but mercy and free grace?
Have mercy upon me, O most gracious Redeemer! have mercy upon me, and let my life
be precious in thy sight! (2 Kings 1:14) O do not resolve to send me down to that state of
final misery and despair from which it was thy gracious purpose to deliver and save so
        “Spurn me not away, O Lord! from thy presence, nor be offended when I
presume to lay hold on thy royal robe, and say that I cannot and will not let thee go till
my suit is granted! (Gen. 32:26) Oh! remember that my eternity is at stake! Remember,
O Lord, that all my hopes of obtaining eternal happiness, and avoiding everlasting,
helpless, hopeless destruction, are anchored upon thee; they hang upon thy smiles, or
drop at thy frown,. O have mercy upon me, for the sake of this immortal soul of mine!
Or if not for the sake of mine alone, for the sake of many others, who may, on the one
hand, be encouraged by thy mercy to we, or, on the other, may be greatly wounded and
discouraged by my helpless despair! I beseech thee, O Lord, for thine own sake, and for
the display of thy Father's rich and sovereign grace! I beseech thee by the blood thou
didst shed on the cross! I beseech thee by the covenant of grace and peace, into which
the Father did enter with thee for the salvation of believing and repenting sinners! save
me, save me, O Lord, who earnestly desire to repent and believe! I am indeed a sinner,
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

in whose final and everlasting destruction thy justice might be greatly glorified; but oh!
if thou wilt pardon me, it will be a monument raised to the honor of thy grace and the
efficacy of thy blood, in proportion to the degree in which the wretch, to whom thy
mercy is extended, was mean and miserable without it. Speak, Lord, by thy blessed
Spirit, and banish my fears! Look unto me with love and grace in thy countenance, and
say to me, as in the days of thy flesh thou didst to many an humble supplicant, ‘Thy
sins are forgiven thee, go in peace.’”
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                    CHAPTER XIII.


   1. Transient impressions liable to be mistaken for conversion, which would be a fatal
   error.—2. General scheme for self-examination.—3. Particular inquiries—what views
   there have been of sin?—4. What views there have been of Christ?—5. As to the need the
   soul has of him;—6. And its willingness to receive him with a due surrender of heart to
   his service.—7. Nothing short of this sufficient. The soul submitting to Divine
   examination the sincerity of its faith and repentance.

1. IN consequence of all the serious things which have been said in the former chapters,
I hope it will be no false presumption to imagine that some religious impressions may
be made on hearts which had never felt them before; or may be revived where they
have formerly grown cold and languid. Yet I am very sensible, and I desire that you
may be so, how great danger there is of self-flattery on this important head, and how
necessary it is to caution men against too hasty a conclusion that they are really
converted, because they have felt some warm emotions on their minds, and have
reformed the gross irregularities of their former conduct. A mistake here may be
infinitely fatal; it may prove the occasion of that false peace which shall lead a man to
bless himself in his own heart, and to conclude himself secure, while “all the
threatenings and curses of God's law” are sounding in his ears, and lie indeed directly
against him: (Deut. 19:19,20) while in the mean time he applies to himself a thousand
promises in which he has no share; which may prove therefore like generous wines to a
man in a high fever, or strong opiates to one in a lethargy. “The stony ground hearers
received the word with joy,” and a promising harvest seemed to be springing up; yet “it
soon withered away,” (Matt. 13:5,6) and no reaper filled his arms with it. Now, that this
may not he the case with you, that all my labors and yours hitherto may not be lost, and
that a vain dream of security and happiness may not plunge you deeper into misery
and ruin, give me leave to lead you into a serious inquiry into your own heart, that so
you may be better able to judge of your ease, and to distinguish between what is at
most being only near the kingdom of heaven, and becoming indeed a member of it.
        2. Now this depends upon the sincerity of your faith in Christ, when faith is
taken in the largest extent, as explained above: that is, as comprehending repentance,
and that steady purpose of new and universal obedience, of which, wherever it is real,
faith will assuredly be the vital principle. Therefore, to assist you in judging of your
state, give me leave to ask you, or rather to entreat you to ask yourself, what views you
have had, and now have, of sin and of Christ? and what your future purposes are with
regard to your conduct in the remainder of life that may lie before you? I shall not
reason largely upon the several particulars I suggest under these heads, but rather refer
you to your own reading and observation, to judge how agreeable they are to the word
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

of God, the great rule by which our characters must quickly be tried, and out eternal
state unalterably determined.
        3. Inquire seriously, in the first place, “what views you have had of sin, and what
sentiments you have felt in your soul with regard to it?” There was a time when it wore
a flattering aspect, and made a fair, enchanting appearance, so that all your heart was
charmed with it, and it was the very business of your life to practice it. But you have
since been undeceived. You have felt it “bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder.”
(Prov. 23:32) You have beheld it with an abhorrence far greater than the delight which it
ever gave you. So far it is well it is thus with every true penitent, and with some, I fear,
who are not of that number. Let me therefore inquire farther, whence arose this
abhorrence? Was it merely from a principle of self-love? Was it merely because you had
been wounded by it? Was it merely because you had thereby brought condemnation
and ruin upon your own soul? Was there no sense of its deformity, of its baseness, of its
malignity, as committed against the blessed God, considered as a glorious, a bountiful,
and a merciful Being? Were you never pierced by the apprehension of its vile
ingratitude? And as for those purposes which have arisen in your heart against it, let
me beseech you to reflect how they have been formed, and how they have hitherto been
executed. Have they been universal? Have they been resolute? And yet, amidst all that
resolution, have they been humble? When you have declared war with sin, was it with
every sin? And is it an irreconcilable war which you determine, by divine grace, to push
on till you have entirely conquered it, or die in the attempt? And are you accordingly
active in your endeavors to subdue and destroy it? If so, what are “the fruits worthy of
repentance which you bring forth?” (Luke 3:8) It does not, I hope, all flow away in
floods of grief. Have you “ceased to do evil?" Are you "learning to do well?” (Isa.
1:16,17) Doth your reformation show that you repent of your sins? or do your renewed
relapses into sin prove that you repent even of what you call your repentance? Have
you an inward abhorrence of all sin, and an unfeigned zeal against it? And doth that
produce a care to guard against the occasions of it, and temptations to it? Do you watch
against the circumstances that have ensnared you? and do you particularly double your
guard against “that sin which does most easily beset you?” (Heb. 12:1) Is that laid aside,
that the Christian race may be run: laid aside with firm determination that you will
return to it no more, that you hold no more parley with it, that you will never take
another step toward it?
        4. Permit me also farther to inquire, “what your views of Christ have been? What
think you of him, and your concern with him?” Have you been fully convinced that
there must be a correspondence settled between him and your soul? And do you see
and feel, that you are not only to pay him a kind of distant homage, and transient
compliment, as a very wise, benevolent, and excellent person, for whose name and
memory you have a reverence; but that, as he lives and reigns, as he is ever near you,
and always observing you, so you must look to him, must approach him, must humbly
transact business with him, and that business of the highest importance, on which your
salvation depends?
        5. Yon have been brought to inquire, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before the most high God? (Mic. 6:6) And once perhaps you were
thinking of sacrifices which your own stores might have been sufficient to furnish out.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

Are you now convinced they will not suffice; and that you must have recourse to the
Lamb which God has provided? Have you had a view of “Jesus as taking away the sin
of the world?” (John 1:29) “as made a sin-offering for us, though he knew no sin, that
we might be made the righteousness of God in him?” (2 Cor. 5:21) Have you viewed
him as perfectly righteous in himself; and, despairing of being justified by any
righteousness of your own, have you “submitted to the righteousness of God?” (Rom.
10:3) Has your heart ever been brought to a deep conviction of this important truth, that
if ever you are saved at all, it must be through Christ; that if ever God extends mercy to
you at all, it must be for his sake; that if ever you are fixed in the temple of God above,
you must stand there as an everlasting trophy of that victory which Christ has gained
over the powers of hell, who would otherwise have triumphed over you?
         6. Our Lord says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved.” (Isai. 45:22) He says, “If I be
lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) Have you looked to him as the only
Savior, have you been drawn unto him by that sacred magnet, the attracting influence
of his dying love? Do you know what it is to come to Christ, as a poor “weary and
heavy laden sinner, that you may find rest?” (Matt. 11:28) Do you know what it is, in a
spiritual sense, “to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man;” (John 6:53) that
is, to look upon Christ crucified as the great support or your soul, and to feel a desire
after bitterness as the appetite of nature after its necessary food? Have you known what
it is cordially to surrender yourself to Christ, as a poor creature whom love has made
his property? Have you committed your immortal soul to him, that he may purify and
save it; that he may govern it by the dictates of his word and the influences of his Spirit;
that be may use it for his glory; that he may appoint it to what exercises and discipline
he pleases, while it dwells wells here in flesh; and that he may receive it at death, and
fix it among those spirits, who with perpetual songs of praise surround his throne, and
are his servants forever? Have you heartily consented to this? And do you, on this
account of the matter, renew your content! Do you renew it deliberately and
determinately, and feel your whole soul, as it were, saying Amen, while you read this?
If this be the case, then I can, with great pleasure, give you, as it were, the right hand of
fellowship, and salute and embrace you as a sincere disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ; as
One who is delivered from the powers of darkness, and is “translated into the kingdom
of the Son of God.” (Col. 1:13) I can then salute you in the Lord, as one to whom, as a
minister of Jesus, I am commissioned and charged to speak comfortably, and tell you
not that I absolve you from your sins, for it is a small mall matter to be judged of man's
judgment, but that the blessed God himself absolveth you: that you are one to whom he
hath said in his Gospel, and is continually saying, “Your sins are forgiven you;” (Luke
7:48) therefore go in peace, and take the comfort of it.
         7. But if you are a stranger to these experiences, and to this temper which I have
now described, the great work is yet undone: you are an impenitent and unbelieving
sinner, and “the wrath of God abideth on you.” (John 3:36) However you may have
been awakened- and alarmed, whatever resolutions you may have formed for
amending your life, how right soever your notions may be, how pure soever your forms
of worship, how ardent soever your zeal, how severe soever your mortification, how
humane soever your temper, how inoffensive soever your life may be, I can speak no
comfort to you. Vain are all your religious hopes, if there has not been a cordial
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

humiliation before the presence of God for all your sins; if there has not been this
avowed war declared against every thing displeasing to God; if there has not been this
sense of your need of Christ, and of your ruin without him; if there has not been this
earnest application to him, this surrender of your soul into his hands by faith, this
renunciation of yourself, that you might fix on Him the anchor of your hope: if there has
not been this unreserved deification of yourself, to be at all times, and in an respects, the
faithful servant of God through him; and if you do not with all this acknowledge, that
you are an unprofitable servant, who have no other expectations of acceptance or of
pardon but only through his righteousness and blood, and through the riches of divine
grace in Him; I repeat it to you again, that all your hopes are vain, and you are
“building on the sand.” (Matt. 7:26) The house you have already raised must ho thrown
down to the ground, and the foundation be removed and laid anew, or you, and all
your hopes, will shortly be swept away with it, and buried under it in everlasting ruin.

     The soul submitting to Divine Examination the Sincerity of its Repentance and Faith.

         Lord God! thou searchest all hearts. and triest the reins of the children of men!
(Jer. 17:10) Search me, O Lord, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and
see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psa.
139:23,24) Doth not conscience, Lord! testify in thy presence, that my repentance and
faith are such as have been described, or at least that it is my earnest prayer that they
may be so? Come, therefore, O thou blessed Spirit! who art the author of all grace and
consolation, and work this temper more fully in my soul. O represent sin to mine eyes
in all its most odious colors, that I may feel a mortal and irreconcilable hatred to it! O
represent the majesty and mercy of the blessed God in such a manner that my heart
may be alarmed, and that it may be melted! Smite the rock, that the waters may flow:
(Psa. 78:20) waters of genuine, undissembled, and filial repentance! Convince me, O
thou blessed Spirit! of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment! (John 16:8) Show me that I
have undone myself; but that my help is found in God alone, (Hos. 13:9) in God
through Christ, in whom alone he will extend compassion and help to me! According to
thy peculiar office, take of Christ and show it unto me. (John 16:15) Show me his power
to save! Show me his willingness to exert that power I teach my faith to behold him as
extended on the cross, with open arms, with a pierced, bleeding side; and so telling me,
in the most forcible language, what room there is in his very heart for me! May I know
what it is to have my whole heart subdued by love; so subdued as to be crucified with
him; (Rom. 6:6) to he dead to sin and dead to the world, but alive unto God. through
Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:11) In his power and love may I confide! To him may I without
any reserve commit my spirit! His image may I bear! His laws may I observe! His
service may I pursue! And may I remain, through time and eternity, a monument of the
efficacy or his Gospel, and a trophy of his victorious grace!
         “O blessed God! if there be any thing wanting towards constituting me a sincere
Christian, discover it to me, and work it in me! Beat down, I beseech thee, every false
and presumptuous hope, how costly soever that building may have been which it thus
laid in ruins, and how proud soever I may have been of its vain ornaments! Let me
know the worst of my case, be that knowledge edge ever so distressing; and if there be
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

remaining danger, O let my heart be fully sensible of it, sensible while yet there is a
       “If there be any secret sin yet lurking in my soul, which I have not sincerely
renounced, discover it to me, and rend it out of my heart, though it may have shot its
roots ever so deep, and have wrapped them all around it, so that every nerve shall be
pained by the separation! Tear it away, O Lord, by a hand graciously severe! And by
degrees, yea, Lord, by speedy advances, go on, I beseech thee, to perfect what is still
lacking in my faith. (l Thess. 3:10) Accomplish in me all the good pleasure of thy
goodness. (2 Thess. 1:11) Enrich me, O Heavenly Father, with all the graces of thy Spirit;
form me to the complete image of thy dear Son; and then, for his sake, come unto me,
and manifest thy gracious presence in my soul, (John, 14:21,28) till it is ripened for that
state of glory for which all these operations are intended to prepare it Amen."
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XIV.


   1, 2. The importance of the case engages to a more particular survey what manner of
   spirit we are of.—3. Accordingly the Christian temper is described, by some general
   views of it, as a new and divine temper.—4. As resembling that of Christ.—5. And as
   engaging us to be spiritually minded, and to walk by faith.—6. A plan of the
   remainder.—7. In which the Christian temper is more particularly considered-with
   regard to the blessed God: as including fear, affection, and obedience.—8, 9. Faith and
   love to Christ.—10. Joy in Him.—11-13. And a proper temper towards the Holy Spirit,
   particularly as a spirit of adoption and of courage.—14. With regard to ourselves; as
   including preference of the soul to the body, humility, purity.—15. Temperance.—16.
   Contentment.—17. And Patience.—18. With regard to our fellow creatures; as including
   Love.—19. Meekness.—20. Peaceableness.—21. Mercy.—22. Truth.—23. And candor in
   judging.—24. General qualifications of each branch.—25. Such as Sincerity.—26.
   Constancy.—27. Tenderness.—28. Zeal.—29. And Prudence.—30. These things should
   frequently be recollected.—A review of all in a scriptural prayer.

1. WHEN I consider the infinite importance of eternity, I find it exceedingly difficult to
satisfy myself in any thing which I can say to men, where their eternal interests are
concerned. I have given you a view, I hope I may truly say, a just as well as a faithful
view, of a truly Christian temper already. Yet, for your farther assistance, I would offer
it to your consideration in various points of light, that you maybe assisted in judging of
what you are and what you ought to be. And in this I aim, not only at your conviction,
if you are yet a stranger to real religion, but at your farther edification, if, by the grace of
God, you are by this time experimentally acquainted with it. Happy you will be, happy
beyond expression, if, as you go on from one article to another, you can say, “This is my
temper and character.” Happy in no inconsiderable degree, if you can say, “This is what
I desire, what I pray for, and what I pursue, in preference to every opposite view,
though it be not what I have as yet attained.”
        2. Search, then, and try “what manner of spirit you are of” (Luke 9:55) And may
he that searcheth all hearts direct the inquiry, and enable you “so to judge yourself; that
you may not be condemned of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 11:31,32)
        3. Know in the general, “that, if you are a Christian indeed, you have been
‘renewed in the spirit of your mind,’ (Eph. 4:23) so renewed as to be regenerated and
born again.” It is not enough to have assumed a new name, to have been brought under
some new restraints, or to have made a partial change in some particulars of your
conduct. The change must be great and universal. Inquire, then, whether you have
entertained new apprehensions or things, have formed a practical judgment different
from what you formerly did; whether the ends you propose, the affections which you
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

feel working in your heart, and the course of action to which, by those affections, you
are directed, be, on the whole, new or old. Again, “If you are a Christian indeed, you
are a ‘partaker of a divine nature,’ (2 Pet. 1:4) divine in its original, its tendency, and its
resemblance.” Inquire, therefore, whether God hath implanted a principle in your heart,
which tends to him, and which makes you like him. Search your soul attentively, to see
if you have really the image there of God’s moral perfections, of his holiness and
righteousness his goodness and fidelity; for “the new man is, after God, created in
righteousness and true holiness,” (Eph. 4:24) “and is renewed in knowledge after the
image of him that created him.” (Col. 3:10)
        4. For your farther assistance, inquire “whether ‘the same mind be in you which
was always in Christ.’ (Phil. 2:5) Whether you bear the image of God’s incarnate Son,
the brightest and fairest resemblance of the Father which heaven or earth has ever
beheld.” The blessed Jesus designed himself to be a model for all his followers; and he is
certainly a model most fit for our imitation: an example in our own nature and in
circumstances adapted to general use: an example recommended to us at once by its
spotless perfection, and by the endearing relations in which he stands to us, as our
Master, our Friend, and our Head; as the person by whom our everlasting state is to be
fixed, and in resemblance to whom our final happiness is to consist, if ever we are
happy at all. Look then, into the life and temper of Christ, as described and illustrated
in the Gospel, and search whether you can find any thing like it in your own. Have you
any thing of his devotion, love, and resignation to God? Any thing of his humility,
meekness, and benevolence to men? Any thing of his purity and wisdom, his contempt
of the world, his patience, his fortitude, his zeal? And indeed all the other branches of
the Christian temper, which do not imply previous guilt in the person by whom they
are exercised, may be called in to illustrate and assist your inquiries under this head.
        5. Let me add, “If you are a Christian, you are in the main ‘spiritually-minded,’
as knowing ‘that is life and peace;’ whereas, ‘to be carnally-minded is death.’” (Rom.
8:6) Though you “live in the flesh, you will not war after it,” (2 Cor. 10:3) you will not
take your orders and your commands from it. You will indeed attend to its necessary
interests as matter of duty; but it will still be with regard to another and a noble?
interest, that of the rational and immortal spirit. Your thoughts, your affections, your
pursuits, your choice, will be determined by a regard to things spiritual rather than
carnal. In a word, “you will walk by faith, and not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7) Future,
invisible, and in some degree incomprehensible objects, will take up your mind. Your
faith will act on the being of God, his perfections, his providences his precepts, his
threatenings, and his promises. It will act upon Christ, “whom having not seen,” you
will “love and honor.” (1 Pet. 1:8) It will act on that unseen world, which it knows to be
eternal, and therefore infinitely more worthy of your affectionate regard than any of
“those things which are seen and are temporal.” (2 Cor. 4:18)
        6. These are general views of the Christian temper on which I would entreat you
to examine yourself; and now I would go on to lead you into a survey of the grand
branches of it, as relating to God, our neighbor, and ourselves; and of those
qualifications which must attend each of these branches; such as sincerity, constancy,
tenderness, zeal and prudence. And I beg your diligent attention, while I lay before you
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

a few hints with regard to each, by which you may judge the better, both of your state
and your duty.
         7. Examine, then, I entreat you. “the temper of your heart with regard to the
blessed God.” Do you find there a reverential fear, and a supreme love and veneration
for his incomparable excellencies, a desire after him as the highest good, and a cordial
gratitude towards him as your supreme benefactor? Can you trust his care? Can you
credit his testimony? Do you desire to pay an unreserved obedience to all that he
commands, and an humble submission to all the disposals of his providence? Do you
design his glory as your noblest end, and make it the great business of your life to
approve yourself to him? Is it your governing care to imitate him, and to “serve him in
spirit and in truth?” (John, 4:24)
         8. Faith in Christ I have already described at large, and therefore shall say
nothing farther, either of that persuasion of his power and grace, which is the great
foundation of it, or of that acceptance of Christ under all his characters, or that
surrender of the soul into his hands, in which its peculiar and distinguishing nature
         9. If this faith in Christ be sincere, “it will undoubtedly produce a love to him:”
which will express itself in affectionate thoughts of him; in strict fidelity to him; in a
careful observation of his charge; in a regard to his spirit, to his friends, and to his
interests; in a reverence to the memorials of his dying love which he has instituted; and
in an ardent desire after that heavenly world where he dwells, and where he will at
length “have all his people to dwell with him.” (John 17:2)
         10. I may add, agreeably to the word or God, “that thus believing in Christ and
loving him, you will also rejoice in him:” in his glorious design, and in his complete
fitness to accomplish it; in the promises of his word, and in the privileges of his people.
It will be matter of joy to you, that such a Redeemer has appeared in this world of ours;
and your joy for yourself will be proportionable to the degree of clearness with which
you discern your interest in him, and relation to him.
         11. Let me farther lead you into some reflections on “the temper of your heart
towards the blessed Spirit.” If “we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his.
(Rom. 8:19) If we are not “led by the Spirit of God, we are not the children of God.”
(Rom. 8:14) You will then, if you are a real Christian, desire that you may “be filled with
the Spirit;” (Eph. 5:18) that you may have every power of your soul subject to his
authority; that his agency on your heart may be more constant, more operative, and
more delightful. And to cherish these sacred influences, you will often have recourse to
serious consideration and meditation: you will abstain from those sins which tend to
grieve him; you will improve the tender seasons, in which he seems to breathe upon
your soul; you will strive earnestly with God in prayer, that you may have him “shed
on you still more abundantly through Jesus Christ;” (Tit. 3:6) and you will be desirous
to fall in with the end of his mission, which was to glorify Christ, (John, 16:14) and to
establish his kingdom. “You will desire his influences as the Spirit of adoption,” to
render your acts of worship free and affectionate, your obedience vigorous, your
sorrow for sin overflowing and tender, your resignation meek, and your love ardent: in
a word, to carry you through life and death with the temper of a child who delights in
his father, and who longs for his more immediate presence.
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        12. Once more, “if you are a Christian indeed, you will be desirous to obtain the
spirit of courage.” Amidst all that humility of soul to which you will be formed, you
will wish to commence a hero in the cause of Christ, opposing, with a rigorous
resolution, the strongest efforts of the powers of darkness, the inward corruptions of
your own heart, and all the outward difficulties you may meet with in the way of your
duty, while in the cause and in the strength or Christ you go on “conquering and to
        13. All these things may be considered as branches of godliness; of that godliness
which is “profitable unto all things,” and hath the “promise of the life which now is,
and of that which is to come.” (1. Tim. 4:8)
        14. Let me now farther lay before you some branches of the Christian temper
“which relate more immediately to ourselves.” And here, if you are a Christian indeed,
you will undoubtedly prefer the soul to the body, and things eternal to those that are
temporal. Conscious of the dignity and value of your immortal part, you will come to a
firm resolution to secure its happiness, whatever is to be resigned, whatever is to be
endured in that view. If you are a real Christian, you will be so “clothed with humility.”
(1 Pet. 5:5) You will have a deep sense of your own imperfections, both natural and
moral; of the short extent of your knowledge; of the uncertainty and weakness of your
resolutions; and of your continual dependence upon God, and upon almost every thing
about you. And especially will you be deeply sensible of your guilt; the remembrance of
which will fill you with shame and confusion, even when you have some reason to
hope it is forgiven. This will forbid all haughtiness and insolence of your behavior to
your fellow-creatures. It will teach you, under afflictive providences, with all holy
submission to bear the indignation of the Lord as those that know they “have sinned
against him.” (Mic. 7:9) Again, if you are a Christian indeed, “you will labor after purity
of soul,” and maintain a fixed abhorrence of all prohibited sensual indulgence. A
recollection of past impurities will fill you with shame and grief, and you will endeavor
for the future to guard your thoughts and desires, as well as your words and actions,
and to abstain, not only from the commission of evil, but “from the” distant
“appearance” and probable occasions “of it:” (1 Thess. 5:22) as conscious of the perfect
holiness of that God with whom you converse, and of the “purifying nature of that
hope,” (1 John 3:3) which by his Gospel he hath taught you to entertain.
        15. With this is nearly allied “that amiable virtue of temperance” which will
teach you to guard against such a use of meats and drinks as indisposes the body for
the service of the soul; or such an indulgence in either, as will rob you of that precious
jewel, your time, or occasion an expense beyond what your circumstances will admit,
and beyond what will consist with what you owe to the cause of Christ, and those
liberalities to the poor which your relation and theirs to God and each other will
require. In short, you will guard against whatever has a tendency to increase a sensual
disposition against whatever would alienate the soul from communion with God, and
would diminish its zeal and activity in his service.
        16. The divine philosophy of the blessed Jesus will also teach you “a contented
temper.” It will moderate your desires of those worldly enjoyments after which many
feel such an insatiable thirst, ever growing with indulgence and success. You will guard
against an immoderate care about those things which would lead you into a
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

forgetfulness of your heavenly inheritance. If Providence disappoint your undertakings,
you will submit; if others be more prosperous you will not envy them, but rather will be
thankful for what God is pleased to bestow upon them, as well as for what he gives
you. No unlawful methods will be used to alter your present condition; and whatever it
is, you will endeavor to make the best of it, remembering it is what infinite wisdom and
goodness have appointed you, and that it is beyond all comparison better than you
have deserved; yea, that the very deficiencies and inconveniences of it may conduce to
the improvement of your future and complete happiness.
        17. With contentment, if you are a disciple of Christ, “you will join patience too,”
and “in patience will possess your soul.” (Luke 21:19) You cannot indeed be quite
insensible either of afflictions or injuries; but your mind will be calm and composed
under them, and steady in the prosecution of proper duty, though afflictions press, and
though your hopes, your dearest hopes and prospects be delayed. Patience will prevent
hasty and rash conclusions, and fortify you against seeking irregular methods of relief;
disposing you, in the mean time, till God shall be pleased to appear for you, to go on
steadily in the way of your duty; “committing yourself to him in well-doing.” (1 Pet.
4:19) You will also be careful that “patience may have its perfect work,” (Jam. 1:4) and
prevail in proportion to those circumstances which demand its peculiar exercise. For
instance, when the successions of evil are long and various, so that “deep calls to deep,”
and “all God's waves and billows seem to be going over you,” one after another; (Psa.
42:7) when God touches you in the most tender part; when the reasons of his conduct to
you are quite unaccountable; when your natural spirits are weak and decayed; when
unlawful methods of redress seem near and easy; still your reverence for the will of
your heavenly Father will carry it against all, and keep you waiting quietly for
deliverance in his own time and way.
        18. I have thus led you into a brief review of the Christian temper, with respect to
God and ourselves: permit me now to add, “that the Gospel will teach you another set
of very important lessons with respect to your fellow-creatures.” They all are summed
up in this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself;” (Rom. 13:9) and whatsoever thou
wouldst (that is, whatsoever thou couldst, in an exchange of circumstances, fairly and
reasonably desire) that others should do unto thee, do thou like-wise the same unto
them.” (Matt. 7:12) The religion of the blessed Jesus, when it triumphs in your soul, will
conquer the predominancy of an irregular self-love, and will teach you candidly and
tenderly to look upon your neighbor as another self. As you are sensible of your own
rights, you will be sensible of his: as you support your own character you will support
his. You will desire his welfare, and be ready to relieve his necessity, as you would have
your own consulted by another. You will put the kindest construction upon his most
dubious words and actions. You will take pleasure in his happiness; you will feel his
distress, in some measure, as your own. And most happy will you be, when this
obvious rule is familiar to your mind, when this golden law is written upon your heart,
and when it is habitually and impartially consulted by you upon every occasion,
whether great or small.
        19. The Gospel will also teach you “to put on meekness,” (Col. 3:12) not only
with respect to God, submitting to the authority of his word, and the disposal of his
providence, as was urged before; but also with regard to your brethren of mankind. Its
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

gentle instructions will form you to calmness of temper under injuries and
provocations, so that you may not be angry without, or beyond just cause. It will
engage you to guard your words, lest you provoke and exasperate those you should
rather study by love to gain, and by tenderness to heal. Meekness will render you slow
in using any rough and violent methods, if they can by any means be lawfully avoided;
and ready to admit, and even to propose a reconciliation, after they have been entered
into, if there may yet be hope of succeeding. So far as this branch of the Christian
temper prevails in your heart, you will take care to avoid every thing which might give
unnecessary offence to others; you will behave you yourself in a modest manner,
according to your station; and it will work, both with regard to superiors and inferiors,
teaching you duly to honor the one, and not to overbear or oppress, to grieve or insult
the other. And in religion itself; it will restrain all immoderate sallies and harsh censure;
and will command down “that wrath of man, which, instead of working, so often
opposes the righteousness of God,” (Jam. 1:20) and shames and wounds that good
badge, in which it is boisterously and furiously engaged.
         20. With this is naturally connected “a peaceful disposition.” If you are a
Christian indeed, you will have such a value and esteem for peace, as to endeavor to
obtain, and to preserve it, “as much as lieth in you,” (Rom. 12:18) as much as you fairly
and honorably can. This will have such an influence upon your conduct, as to make you
not only cautious of giving offence, and slow in taking it, but earnestly desirous to
regain peace as soon as may be, when it is in any measure broken, that the wound may
be healed while it is green, and before it begins to rankle and fester. And more
especially, this disposition will engage you “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond
of peace,” (Eph. 4:3) “with all that in every very place call on the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ,” (1 Cor. 1:2) whom if you truly love, you will also love all those whom you have
reason to believe to he his disciples and servants.
         21. If you be yourselves indeed of that number, “you will also put on bowels of
mercy.” (Col. 3:12) the mercies of God, and those of the blessed Redeemer, will work on
your heart, to mould it to sentiments of compassion and generosity, so that you will feel
the wants and sorrows of others; you will desire to relieve their necessities; and as you
have an opportunity, you will do good, both to their bodies and their souls; expressing
your kind affections in suitable actions, which may both evidence their sincerity and
render them effectual
         22. As a Christian, “you will also maintain truth inviolable,” not only in your
solemn testimonies, when confirmed by an oath, but likewise in common conversation.
You will remember, too, that your promises bring an obligation upon you, which you
are by no means at liberty to break through. On the whole, you will be careful to keep a
strict correspondence between your words and your actions, in such a manner as
becomes a servant of the God of truth.
         23. Once more, as, amidst the strictest care to observe all the divine precepts, you
will still find many imperfections on account of which you will be obliged to pray, that
“God would not enter into strict judgment with you," as well knowing “that in his sight
you cannot be justified,” (Psa. 143:2) you will be careful not to judge others “in such a
manner as should awaken the severity of ‘his judgment against yourself.’” (Matt. 7:1,2)
You will not, therefore. judge them impertinently, when you have nothing to do with
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

their actions; nor rashly, without inquiring into circumstances; nor partially, without
weighing them attentively and fairly; nor uncharitably. putting the worst construction
upon things in their own nature dubious; deciding upon intentions as evil, farther than
they certainly appear to be so; pronouncing on the state of men, or on the whole of their
character, from any particular action, and involving the innocent with the guilty. There
is a moderation contrary to all these extremes, which the Gospel recommends; and if
you receive the Gospel in good earnest into your heart, it will lay the ax to the root of
such evils as these.
        24. Having thus briefly illustrated the principal branches of the Christian temper
and character, I shall conclude the representation. with reminding you of “some general
qualifications which must be mingled with all, and give a tincture to each of them; such
as sincerity, constancy, tenderness, zeal, and prudence.”
        25. Always remember, that “sincerity is the very soul of true religion.” A single
intention to please God, and to approve ourselves to him, must animate and govern all
that we do in it. Under the influence of this principle you will impartially inquire into
every intimation of duty, and apply to the practice of it so far as it is known to you.
Your heart will be engaged in all you do. Your conduct, in private and in secret, will be
agreeable to your most public behavior. A sense of the Divine authority will teach you
“to esteem all God's precepts concerning all things to be right, and to hate every false
way.” (Psa. 119:128)
        26. Thus are you, “in simplicity and godly sincerity to have your conversation in
the world.” (2 Cor. 1:12) And “you are also to charge it upon your soul ‘to be steadfast
and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.’” (1 Cor. 15:58) There must
not only be some sudden fits and starts of devotion, or of something which looks like it,
but religion must be an habitual and permanent thing. There must be a purpose to
adhere to it at all times. It must be made the stated and ordinary business of life.
Deliberate and presumptuons sins must be carefully avoided; a guard must be
maintained against the common infirmities of life; and falls of one kind or of another
must be matter of proportionable humiliation before God, and must occasion renewed
resolution for his service. And thus you are to go on to the end of your life, not
discouraged by the length and difficulty of the way, nor allured on the one hand, or
terrified on the other, by all the various temptations which may surround and assault
you. Your soul must be fixed on this basis, and you are still to behave yourself as one
who knows he serves an unchangeable God, and who expects from him “a kingdom
which cannot be moved.” (Heb. 12:28)
        27. Again, so far as the Gospel prevails in your heart, “your spirit will be tender,
and the stone will be transformed into flesh.” You will desire that your apprehensions
of divine things may be quick, your affections ready to take proper impressions, your
conscience always easily touched, and, on the whole, your resolutions pliant to the
divine authority, and cordially willing to be, and to do whatever God shall appoint.
You will have a tender regard to the word of God, a tender caution against sin, a tender
guard against the snares of prosperity, a tender submission to God's afflicting hand: in a
word, you will be tender wherever the divine honor is concerned; and careful, neither
to do anything yourself; nor to allow any thing in another, so far as you can influence,
by which God should be offended, or religion reproached.
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

       28. Nay, more than all this, you will, so far as true Christianity governs in your
mind, “exert a holy zeal in the service of your Redeemer and your Father.” You will be
“zealously affected in every good thing,” (Gal. 4:18) in proportion to its apprehended
goodness and importance. You will be zealous, especially, to correct what is irregular in
yourself; and to act to the utmost of your ability for the cause of God. Nor will you be
able to look with an indifferent eye on the conduct of others in this view; but, so far as
charity, meekness, aid prudence will admit, you will testify your disapprobation of
every thing in it which is dishonorable to God and injurious to men. And you will labor,
not only to reclaim men from such courses, but to engage them to religion, and quicken
them in it.
       29. And once more, you will desire “to use the prudence which God bath given
you,” in judging what is, in present circumstances, your duty to God, your neighbor,
and yourself; what will be, on the whole, the most acceptable manner of discharging it,
and how far it may be most advantageously pursued; as remembering that he is indeed
the wisest and the happiest man, who, by constant attention of thought, discovers the
greatest opportunities of doing good, and with ardent and animated resolution breaks
through every opposition, that he may improve those opportunities.
       30. This is such a view of the Christian temper as could conveniently be thrown
within such narrow limits; and I hope it may assist many in the great and important
work of self-examination. Let your own conscience answer, how far you have already
attained it, and how far you desire it; and let the principal topics here touched upon be
fixed in your memory and in your heart, that you may be mentioning them before God
in your daily addresses to the throne of grace, in order to receive from him all necessary
assistance for bringing them into practice.

 A Prayer, chiefly in Scripture Language, in which the several Branches of the Christian temper
                    are more briefly enumerated in the order laid down above.

       “Blessed God, I humbly adore thee as the great Father of lights, and the Giver of
every good and every perfect gift. (Jam. 1:17) From thee, therefore, I seek every blessing,
and especially those which may lead me to thyself, and prepare me for the eternal
enjoyment of thee. I adore thee as the God who searches the hearts and tries the reins of
the children of men. (Jer. 17:10) Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and
know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way
everlasting. (Psa. 139:23,24) May I know what manner of spirit I am of; (Luke 9:55) and
be preserved from mistaking, where the error might be infinitely fatal!
       “May I, O Lord, be renewed in the spirit of my mind. (Eph. 4:24) A new heart do
thou give me, and a new spirit do thou put within me. (Ezek. 34:26) Make me partaker
of divine nature; (2 Pet. 1:4) and as he who hath called me is holy, may I be holy in all
manner of conversation. (1 Pet. 1:15) May the same mind be in me which was also in
Christ Jesus; (Phil. 2:5) may I so walk even as he walked. (1 John 2:6) Deliver me from
being carnally-minded, which is death; and make me spiritually-minded, since that is
life and peace. (Rom. 8:6) And may I, while I pass through this world of sense, walk by
faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) and be strong in faith, giving glory to God. (Rom. 4:20)
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        “May thy grace, O Lord, which hath appeared unto all men, and appeared to me
with such glorious evidence and lustre, effectually teach me to deny ungodliness and
worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly. (Tit. 2:11,12) Work in my
heart that godliness which is profitable unto all things; (1 Tim. 4:8) and teach me by the
influence of thy blessed Spirit, to love thee, the Lord my God, with all my heart, and
with all my soul, and with all my mind, and with all my strength. (Mark 12:30) May I
yield myself unto thee, as alive from the dead, (Rom. 6:13) and present my body a living
sacrifice, holy and acceptable in thy sight, which is my most reasonable service! (Rom.
12:1) May I entertain the most faithful and affectionate regard to the blessed Jesus, thine
incarnate Son, the brightness of thy glory, and the express image of thy person. (Heb.
1:3) Though I have not seen him, may I love him; and in him, though now I see him not,
yet believing, may I rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, (1 Pet. 1:8) and may
the life which I live in the flesh be daily by the faith of the Son of God. (Gal. 2:20) May I
be filled with the Spirit, (Eph. 5:18) and may I be led by it; (Rom. 8:14) and so may it be
evident to others, and especially to my own soul, that I am a child of God, and an heir
of glory. May I not receive the spirit of bondage unto fear, but the spirit of adoption,
whereby I may be enabled to cry, Abba, Father. (Rom. 8:15) May he work in me, as the
spirit of love, and of power, and of a sound mind, (2 Tim. 1:17) that so I may add to my
faith virtue. (2 Pet. 1:5) May I be strong, and very courageous. (Josh. 1:7) and quit myself
like a man, (1 Cor. 14:13) and like a Christian, in the work to which I am called, and in
that warfare which I had in view when I listed under the banner of the great Captain of
my salvation.
        “Teach me, O Lord, seriously to consider the nature of my own soul, and to set a
suitable value upon it. May I labor, not only or chiefly, for the meat that perisheth, but
for that which endureth to eternal life. (John, 6:27) May I humble myself under thy
mighty hand, and be clothed with humility, (1 Pet. 5:5,6) decked with the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. (1 Pet. 3:4) May I be
pure in heart, that I may see God, (Matt. 5:8) mortifying my members which are on the
earth, (Col. 3:5) so that if a right eye offend me, I may pluck it out, and if a right hand
offend me, I may cut it off. (Matt. 5:29,30) May I be temperate in all things, (1 Cor. 9:25)
content with such things as I have, (Heb. 13:5) and instructed to be so in whatever state
I am. (Phil. 4:11) May patience also have its perfect work in me, that I may be in that
respect complete, and wanting nothing. (Jam. 1:4)
        “Form me, O Lord, I beseech thee, to a proper temper toward my fellow-
creatures! May I love my neighbor as myself, (Gal. 5:14) and whatsoever I would that
others should do unto me, may I also do the same unto them. (Matt. 7:12) May I put on
meekness under the greatest injuries and provocations, (Col. 3:12) and, if it be possible,
as much as lieth in me, may I live peaceably with all men. (Rom. 12:18) May I be
merciful, as my Father in heaven is merciful. (Luke 6:36) May I speak the truth from my
heart; (Psa. 15:2) and may I speak it in love, (Eph. 4:15) guarding against every instance
of a censorious and malignant disposition; and taking care not to judge severely, as I
would not be judged with the severity which thou, Lord, knowest, and which mine own
conscience knows, I should not be able to support.
        “I entreat thee, O Lord, to work in me all those qualifications of the Christian
temper which may render it peculiarly acceptable to thee, and may prove ornamental to
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

my profession in the world. Renew, I beseech thee, a right spirit within me, (Psa. 51:10)
make me an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no allowed guile. (John 1:47) And while I
feast on Christ, as my passover sacrificed for me, may I keep the feast with the
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:7,8) Make me, I beseech thee, O thou
Almighty and unchangeable God! steadfast and immovable, always abounding in thy
work, as knowing that my labor in the Lord shall not be finally in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58)
May my heart be tender, (2 Kin. 17:19) easily impressed with thy word and providence,
touched with an affectionate concern for thy glory, and sensible of every impulse of thy
Spirit. May I be zealous for my God, (Num. 25:13) with a zeal according to knowledge
and charity, (1 Cor. 14:14) and teach me in thy service to join the wisdom of the serpent
with the boldness of the lion and the innocence of the dove. (Matt. 10:16) Thus render
me, by thy grace, a shining image of my dear Redeemer; and at length bring me to wear
the bright resemblance of his holiness and his glory, in that world where he dwells; that
I may ascribe everlasting honors to him, and to thee, O thou Father of mercies, whose
invaluable gift he is, and to thine Holy Spirit, through whose gracious influence, I
would humbly hope, I may call thee my Father, and Jesus my Savior! Amen."
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XV.


   1. Forward resolutions may prove ineffectual.—2. Yet religion is not to be given up in
   despair, but Divine grace to be sought.—3. A general view of its reality and necessity,
   from reason.—4. And Scripture.—5. The spirit to be sought as the spirit of Christ.—6.
   And in that view the great strength of the soul.—7. The encouragement there is to hope
   for the communication of it.—8. A concluding exhortation to pray for it. And an humble
   address to God pursuant to that exhortation.

I HAVE now laid before you a plan of that temper and character which the Gospel
requires, and which, if you are a true Christian, you will desire and pursue. Surely there
is, in the very description of it, something which must powerfully strike every mind
which has any taste for what is truly beautiful and excellent. And I question not, but
you, my dear render, will feel some impression of it upon your heart. You will
immediately form some lively purpose of endeavoring after it; and perhaps you may
imagine, you shall certainly and quickly attain to it. You see how reasonable it is, and
what desirable consequences necessarily attend it, and the aspect which it bears on your
present enjoyment and your future happiness; and therefore are determined you will
act accordingly. But give me leave seriously to remind you how many there have been,
(would to God that several such instances had not happened within the compass of my
own personal observation!) whose goodness hath been “like a morning cloud and the
early dew,” which soon “passeth away.” (Hos. 6:4) There is not room indeed absolutely
to apply the words of Joshua, taken in the most rigorous sense, when he said to Israel,
that he might humble their too hasty and sanguine resolutions, “You cannot serve the
Lord.” (Josh. 24:12) But I will venture to say, you cannot easily do it. Alas! you know
not the difficulties you have to break through; you know not the temptations which
Satan will throw in your way; you know not how importunate your vain and sinful
companions will be, to draw you back into the snare you may attempt to break; and,
above all, you know not the subtle artifices which your own corruptions will practice
upon you in order to recover their dominion over you. You think the views you now
have of things will be lasting, because the principles and objects to which they refer are
so: but perhaps tomorrow may undeceive you, or rather deceive you anew: tomorrow
may present some trifle in a new dress, which shall amuse you into a forgetfulness of all
this. Nay, perhaps before you lie down on your bed, the impressions you now feel may
wear off. The corrupt desires of your own heart, now perhaps a little charmed down,
and lying as if they were dead, may spring up again with new violence, as if they had
slept only to recruit their vigor; and if you are not supported by a better strength than
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

your own, this struggle for liberty will only make your future chains the heavier, the
more shameful, and the more fatal.
        2. What then is to be done? Is the convinced sinner to lie down in despair? to say,
“I am a helpless captive, and by exerting myself with violence, may break my limbs
sooner than my bonds, and increase the evil I would remove?” God forbid! You cannot,
I am persuaded, be so little acquainted with Christianity, as not to know “that the
doctrine of divine assistance bears a very considerable part in it.” You have often, I
doubt not, read of “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, as making us free from
the law of sin and death,” (Rom. 8:2) and have been told, “that through the Spirit we
mortify the deeds of the body.” (Rom. 8:13) You have read of “doing all things through
Christ, who strengtheneth us,” (Phil. 4:15) whose grace “is sufficient for us,” and whose
“strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Permit me, therefore, flow to call
your attention to this, as a truth of the clearest evidence, and of the utmost importance.
        3. Reason, indeed, as well as the whole tenor of Scripture, agrees with this.*.' The
whole created world has a necessary dependence on God: from him ever, the
knowledge of “natural things” is derived, (Psa. 94:10) and “skill in them is to be
ascribed to him.” (Exod. 31:3-6) Much more loudly does so great and excellent a work,
as the new-forming the human mind, bespeak its divine Author. When you consider
how various the branches of the Christian temper are, and how contrary many of them
also are to that temper, which hath prevailed in your heart, and governed your life in
time past, you must really see divine influences as necessary to produce and nourish
them, as the influences of the sun and rain are to call up the variety of plants and
flowers, and grains and fruits, by which the earth is adorned, and our life supported.
You will be yet more sensible of this, if you reflect on the violent opposition which this
happy work must expect to meet with; of which I shall presently warn you more
largely, and which if you have not already experienced, it must be because you have
but very lately begun to think of religion.
        4. Accordingly, if you give yourself leave to consult Scripture on this head, (and
if you would live like a Christian, you must be consulting it every day, and forming
your notions and actions by it) you will see that the whole tenor of it teaches that
dependence upon God which I am now recommending. You will particularly see, that
the production of religion in the soul is matter of divine promise; that when it has been
effected, Scripture ascribes it to a divine agency; and that the increase of grace and piety
in the heart of those who are truly regenerate, is also spoken of as the word of God, who
begins and “carries it on until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
        5. Inconsequence of all these views, lay it down to yourself as a most certain
principle, that no attempt in religion is to be made in your own strength. If you forget
this, and God purposes finally to save you, he will humble you by repeated
disappointments, till he teach you better. You will be ashamed of one scheme and effort,
and of another, till you settle upon the true basis. He will also probably show you, not
only in the general, that your strength is to be derived from heaven, but particularly

 ee many of these thoughts much more largely illustrated in my eighth Sermon on

                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

that it is the office of the blessed Spirit to purify the heart, and to invigorate holy
resolutions; and also that, in all these operations, he is to be considered as the Spirit of
Christ, working under his direction, and as a vital communication from him under the
character of the great Head of the Church, the grand Treasurer and Dispenser of these
holy and beneficial influences. On which account it is called “the supply of the Spirit of
Jesus Christ,” (Phil. 1:19) who is “exalted at the right hand” of the Father, “to give
repentance and remission of sins,” (Acts 5:31) “in whose grace alone we can be strong,”
(2 Tim. 2:1) and “of whose fullness we receive even grace for grace.” (John 1:16)
        6. Resolve, therefore, strenuously for the service of God, and for the care of your
soul: but “resolve modestly and humbly.” Even “the youths shall faint and be weary,
and the young men utterly fall; but they who wait on the Lord” are the persons who
“renew their strength.” (Isai. 40:30,31) When a soul is almost afraid to declare, in the
presence of the Lord, that it will not do this or that, which has formerly offended him;
when it is afraid absolutely to promise that it will perform this or that duty with vigor
and constancy, but only expresses its humble and earnest desire that it may by grace be
enabled to avoid the one or pursue the other; then, so far as my observation and
experience have reached, it is in the best way to learn the happy art of conquering
temptation, and of discharging duty.
        7. On the other hand, let not your dependence upon this Spirit, and your sense of
your own weakness and insufficiency for any thing spiritually good, without his
continual aid, discourage you from devoting yourself to God, and engaging in a
religious life, considering “what abundant reason you have to hope that these gracious
influences will be communicated to you.” The light of nature, at the same time that it
teaches the need we have of help from God in a virtuous course, may lead us to
conclude that so benevolent a Being, who bestows on the most unworthy and careless
part of mankind so many blessings, will take a peculiar pleasure in communicating to
such as humbly ask them, those gracious assistances which may form their deathless
souls into his own resemblance, and fit them for that happiness to which their rational
nature is suited, and for which it was in its first constitution intended. The word of God
will much more abundantly confirm such a hope. You there hear divine wisdom crying
even to those who bad long trifled with her instructions, “Turn ye at my reproof, and I
will pour out my Spirit upon you” (Prov 1:23) You hear the apostle saying, “Let us
come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in
every time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) Yea, and you there hear our Lord himself arguing in
this sweet and convincing manner: “If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit unto
them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13) This gift and promise of the Spirit was given unto
Christ when he ascended up on high, in trust for all his true disciples. God hath “shed it
abroad abundantly upon us in him.” (Tit. 3:6) And I may add, that the very desire you
feel after the farther communication of the Spirit, is the result of the fruits of it already
given; so that you may, with peculiar propriety, interpret it as a special call “to open
your mouth wide, that he may fill it.” (Psa. 81:10) You thirst, and therefore you may
cheerfully plead, that Jesus has “invited you to come unto him and drink;” with a
promise not only that you shall drink if you come unto him, but also that “out of your
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

belly shall flow,” as it were, “rivers of living water,” for the edification and refreshment
of others. (John, 7:37,38)
       8. Go forth, therefore, with humble cheerfulness, to the prosecution of all the
duties of the Christian life. Go and prosper “in the strength of the Lord, making
mention of his righteousness, and of his only.” (Psa. 71:16) And as a token of farther
communication, may your heart be quickened to the most earnest desire after the
blessings I have been now recommending to your pursuit!” May you be stirred up to
pour out your soul before God in such holy breathings as these! and may they he your
daily language in his gracious presence!

An humble Supplication for the Influences of Divine Grace, to form and strengthen Religion in
                                          the Soul.

       “Blessed God! I sincerely acknowledge before thee my own weakness and
insufficiency for any thing that is spiritually good. I have experienced it a thousand
times; and yet my foolish heart would again ‘trust itself,’ (Prov. 28:26) and form
resolutions in its won strength. But let this be the first fruits of thy gracious influence
upon it, to bring it to an humble distrust of itself, and to a repose on thee!
       “Abundantly do I rejoice, O Lord, in the kind assurances which thou givest me of
thy readiness to bestow libera1ly and richly so great a benefit. I do therefore, according
to thy condescending invitation, come with boldness to the throne of grace, that I may
find grace to help in every time of need. (Heb. 4:16) I mean not, O Lord God, to turn thy
grace into wantonness or perverseness (Jude, ver. 4) or to make my weakness an excuse
for negligence and sloth. I confess that thou hast already given me more strength than I
have used; and I charge it upon myself, and not on thee, that I have not long since
received still more abundant supplies. I desire for the future to be found diligent in the
use of all appointed means; in the neglect of which I well know that petitions like these
would be a profane mockery, and might much more probably provoke thee to take
away what I have, than prevail upon thee to impart more. But firmly resolving to exert
myself to the utmost, I earnestly entreat the communication of thy grace, that I may be
enabled to fulfil that resolution.
       “Be surety, O Lord! unto thy servant for good. (Psa. 119:122) Be pleased to shed
abroad thy sanctifying influences on my soul, to form me for every duty thou requirest.
Implant, I beseech thee; every grace and virtue deep in my heart, and maintain the
happy temper in the midst of those assaults from within and from without, to which I
am continually liable while I am still in this world and carry about with me so many
infirmities. Fill my breast, I beseech thee, with good affections towards thee, my God,
and towards my fellow-creatures. Remind me always of thy presence, and may I
remember that every secret sentiment of my soul is open to thee. May I therefore guard
against the first risings of sin, and the first approaches to it; and that Satan may not find
room for his evil suggestions, I earnestly beg that thou, Lord, wouldst fill my heart with
thine Holy Spirit, and take up thy residence there. Dwell in me, and walk with me, (2
Cor 6:16) and let my body be the temple of the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. 6:19)
       “May I be so joined to Christ Jesus my Lord, as to be one spirit with him, (1 Cor.
6:17) and feel His invigorating influences continually bearing me on, superior to every
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

temptation, and to every corruption; that while the youths shall faint and he weary, and
the young men utterly fall; I may so wait upon the Lord as to renew my strength, (Isai.
40:30,31) and may go on from one degree of faith, and love, and zeal, and holiness, to
another, till I appear perfect before thee in Zion; (Psa. 84:7) to drink in immortal vigor
and joy from thee, as the everlasting fountain of both, through Jesus Christ my Lord, in
whom I have righteousness and strength, (Isai. 45:24) and to whom I desire ever to
ascribe the praise of all my improvements in both. Amen."
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XVI.

                      A RELIGIOUS COURSE.

   1. Christ has instructed his disciples to expect opposition and difficulties in the way to
   heaven.—2. Therefore a more particular view of them is taken, as arising-from the
   remainder of indwelling sin.—3. From the world, and especially from former sinful
   companions.—4. From the temptations and suggest ions of Satan.—5, 6. The Christian is
   animated and encouraged, by various considerations, to oppose them; particularly by
   the presence of God; the aids of Christ; the example of others, who, though feeble, have
   conquered; and the crown of glory to be expected.—7. Therefore, though apostacy be
   infinitely fatal, the Christian may press on cheerfully. Accordingly the soul, alarmed by
   these view; is represented as committing itself to God, in the prayer which concludes the

1. WITH the utmost propriety has our Divine Master required us “to strive to enter in at
the strait gate,” (Luke 13:23) thereby intimating, not only that the passage is narrow, but
that it is beset with enemies; beset on the right hand and on the left with enemies
cunning and formidable. And be assured, O reader! that whatever your circumstances
in life are, you must meet and: encounter them. It will therefore be your prudence to
survey them attentively in your own reflections, that you may see what you are to
expect; and may consider in what armor it is necessary you shall be clothed, and with
what weapons you must be furnished to manage the combat. You have often heard
them marshalled, as it were, under three great leaders, the flesh, the world, and the
devil; and; according to this distribution, I would call you to consider the forces of each,
as setting themselves in array against you. O that you may be excited “to take to
yourself the whole armor of God,” (Eph. 6:13) and to “acquit yourself like a man,” and a
Christian! (1 Cor. 16:13)
        2. Let your conscience answer, whether do you not carry about with you a
corrupt and degenerate nature? You will, I doubt not, feel its effects. You will feel, in the
language of the apostle, who speaks of it as the case of Christians themselves, “the flesh
lusting against the spirit, so that you will not be able,” in all instances, “to do the things
that you would.” (Gal. 5:17) You brought irregular propensities into the world along
with you; and you have so often indulged those sinful inclinations, that you have
greatly increased their strength; and you will find, in consequence of it, that these habits
cannot be broken through without great difficulty. You will, no doubt, often recollect
the strong figures in which the prophet describes a case like yours; and you will own
that it is justly represented by that “of an Ethiopian changing his skin, and the leopard
his spots.” (Jer. 13:23) It is indeed possible, that, at first, you may find such an edge and
eagerness upon your spirits, as may lead you to imagine that all opposition will
immediately fall before you. But, alas! I fear that in a little time these enemies, which
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

seemed to be slain at your feet, will revive, and recover their weapons, and renew the
assault in one form or another. And perhaps your most painful combats may be with
such as you had thought most easy to be vanquished; and your greatest danger may
arise from some of those enemies from whom you apprehended the least, particularly
from pride and from indolence of spirit; from a secret alienation or heart from God, and
from an indisposition for conversing with him, through an immoderate attachment to
“things seen and temporal,” which may be oftentimes exceedingly dangerous to your
salvation, though perhaps they be not absolutely and universally prohibited. In a
thousand of these instances you must learn to deny yourself, or you “cannot be Christ's
disciple.” (Matt. 16:24)
        3. You must also lay your account to find great difficulties from the world, from
its manners, customs, and examples. The things of the world will hinder you one way,
and the men of the world another. Perhaps you may meet with much less assistance in
religion than you are now ready to expect from good men. The present generation of
them is generally so cautious to avoid every thing that looks like ostentation, and there
seems something so insupportably dreadful in the charge of enthusiasm, that you will
find most of your Christian brethren studying to conceal their virtue and their piety,
much more than others study to conceal their vices and their profaneness. But while,
unless your situation be singularly happy, you meet with very little aid one way, you
will, no doubt, find great opposition another. The enemies of religion will be bold and
active in their assaults, while many any or its friends seem unconcerned; and one sinner
will probably exert himself more to corrupt you, than ten Christians to secure and save
you. They who have been once your companions in sin, will try a thousand artful
methods to allure you back again to their forsaken society: some of them perhaps with
an appearance of tender fondness, and many more by the almost irresistible art of
ridicule: that boasted test of right and wrong, as it has been wantonly called, will be
tried upon you, perhaps without any regard to decency, or even to common humanity.
You will be derided and insulted. by those whose esteem-and affection you naturally
desire; and may find much more proprietary than you imagine, in that expression of the
apostle, “the trial of cruel mockings,” (Heb. 9:36) which some fear more than either
sword or flames. This persecution of the tongue you must expect to go through, and
perhaps may be branded as a lunatic, for no other cause than that you now begin to
exercise your reason to purpose, and will not join with those that are destroying their
own souls in their wild career of folly and madness.
        4. And it is not at all improbable, that in the meantime Satan may be doing his
utmost to discourage and distress you. He will, no doubt, raise in your imagination the
most tempting idea of the gratifications, the indulgences, and the companions you are
obliged to forsake; and give you the most discouraging and terrifying view of the
difficulties, severities, and dangers, which are, as he will persuade you, inseparable
from religion. He will not fail to represent God himself, the fountain of goodness and
happiness, as a hard Master, whom it is impossible to please. He will perhaps fill you
with the most distressful fears, and with cruel and insolent malice, glory over you as his
slave, when he knows you are the Lord's freeman. At one time he will study, by his vile
suggestions, to interrupt you in your duties, as if they gave him an additional power
over you. At another time he will endeavor to weary you of your devotion, by
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

influencing you to prolong it to an immoderate and tedious length, lest his power
should be exerted upon you when it ceases. In short, this practiced deceiver has artifices
which it would require whole volumes to display, with particular cautions against each.
And he will follow you with malicious arts and pursuits to the very end of your
pilgrimage, and will leave no method unattempted which may be likely to weaken your
hands and to sadden your heart, that if through the gracious interposition of God, he
cannot prevent your final happiness, he may at least impair your peace and your
usefulness as you are passing to it.
        5. This is what the people of God feel, and what you will feel in some degree or
other, if you have your lot and portion among them. But, after all, be not discouraged:
Christ is the “Captain of your salvation.” (Heb. 2:10) It is delightful to consider him
under this view. When we take a survey of these host of enemies, we may lift up our
head amidst them all, and say, “More and greater is he that is with us, than all those
that are against us.” (2 Kings 6:16) “Trust in the Lord, and you will he like Mount Zion,
which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.” (Psa. 125:1) When your enemies press
upon you, remember you are to “fight in the presence of God.” (Zech. 10:5) Endeavor,
therefore, to act a gallant and a resolute part; endeavor to “resist them steadfast in the
faith.” (1 Pet. 5:9) Remember, “He can give power to the faint, and increase strength to
them that have no might.” (Isai. 40:29) He hath done it in ten thousand instances
already, and he will do it in ten thousand more. How many striplings have conquered
their gigantic foes in all their most formidable armor, when they have gone forth
against them; though but as it were “with a staff and a sling, in the name of the Lord
God of Israel!” (1 Sam. 17:40-45) How many women and children have trodden down
the force of the enemy, “and out of weakness have been made strong!” (Heb. 11:34)
        6. Amidst all the opposition of earth and hell, look upward and look forward,
and you will feel your heart animated by the view. Your General is near; he is near to
aid you, he is near to reward you. When you feel the temptation press the hardest, think
of him who endured even the cross itself for your rescue. View the fortitude of your
Divine Leader, and endeavor to march on in his steps. Hearken to his voice, for he
proclaims it aloud, “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me.” (Rev. 22:12)
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) And, oh!
how bright will it shine! and how long will its lustre last! When the gems that adorn the
crowns of monarchs, and pass (instructive thought!) from one royal head to another
through succeeding centuries, are melted down in the last flame, it is “a crown of glory
which fadeth not away.” (1 Pet. 5.4)
        7. It is indeed true, “that such as turn aside to crooked paths” will be “led forth
with the workers of iniquity,” to that terrible execution which divine justice is preparing
for them, (Psa. 125:5) and it would have been “better for them not to have known the
way of righteousness, than, after having known it, to turn aside from the holy
commandment.” (2 Pet 2:21) But I would, by divine grace, “hope better things of you.”
(Heb. 6:9) And I make it my hearty prayer for you, my reader, that you may be “kept by
the mighty power of God,” kept, as in a garrison on all sides fortified in the securest
manner, “through faith, unto salvation.”

    The Soul, alarmed by a sense of these difficulties, committing itself to Divine Protection.
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        “Blessed God! it is to thine Almighty power that I flee. Behold me surrounded
with difficulties and dangers, and stretch out thine omnipotent arm to save me, ‘O thou
that savest by thy right hand them that put their trust in thee, from those that rise up
against them.’ (Psa. 17:7) this day do I solemnly put myself under thy protection: exert
thy power in my favor, and permit me ‘to make the shadow of thy wings my refuge.’
(Psa. 57:1) Let ‘thy grace be sufficient for me,’ and ‘thy strength be made perfect in my
weakness.’ (2 Cor. 12:90 I dare not say, ‘I will never forsake thee, I will never deny thee,’
(Mark 14:31) but I hope! can truly say, O Lord, I would not do it; and according to my
present apprehension and purpose, death would appear to me much less terrible, than
in any willful and deliberate instance to offend thee. O root out those corruptions from
my heart, which in an hour of pressing temptation might incline me to view things in a
different light, and so might betray me into the hands of the enemy! Strengthen my
faith, O Lord, and encourage my hope! Inspire me with heroic resolution in opposing
every thing that lies in my way to heaven; and let me ‘set my face like a flint’ against all
the assaults of earth and hell! (Isai. 50:7) ‘If sinners entice me, let me not consent;’ (Prov.
1:10) if they insult me, let me not regard it; if they threaten me, let me not fear! Rather
may a holy and ardent, yet prudent and well-governed zeal, take occasion from that
malignity of heart which they discover, to attempt their conviction and reformation! At
least, let me never be ashamed to plead thy cause against the most profane deriders of
religion! ‘Make me to hear joy and gladness’ in my soul, and I will endeavor to ‘teach
transgressors thy ways, that sinners may be converted unto thee’ (Psa. 51:8,13) Yea,
Lord, while my fears continue, though I should apprehend myself condemned, I am
condemned so righteously for my own folly, that I would be thine advocate, though
against myself.
        Keep me, O Lord, now, and at all times! Never let me think, whatever age or
station I attain, that I am strong enough to maintain the combat without thee! Nor let
me imagine myself, even in this infancy of religion in my soul, So weak that thou canst
not support me! Wherever thou leadest me, there let me follow; and whatever station
thou appointest me, there let me labor: there let me maintain the holy war against all
the enemies of my salvation, and rather fall in it, than basely abandon it.
        “And thou, O glorious Redeemer; ‘the Captain of my salvation,’ the great
‘Author and Finisher of my faith,’ (Heb. 12:2) when I am in danger of denying thee, as
Peter did, look upon me with that mixture of majesty and tenderness, (Luke 22:61)
which may either secure me from falling, or may speedily recover me to God and my
duty again! and teach me to take occasion, even from my miscarriages, to humble
myself more deeply for all that has been amiss, and to redouble my future diligence and
caution! Amen.”
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XVII.


   1. The advantages of such a surrender are briefly suggested.— 2, 3, 4. Advice for the
   manner of doing it; that it be deliberate, cheerful, entire, perpetual.—5. And that it be
   expressed with some affecting solemnity.—6. A written instrument to be signed and
   declared before God, at some season of extraordinary devotion, reposed. The chapter
   concludes with a specimen of such an instrument, together with an abstract of it, to be
   used with proper and requisite alterations.

1. AS I would hope, that, notwithstanding all the forms of opposition which do or may
arise, yet in consideration of those noble supports and motives which have been
mentioned in the two preceding chapters, you are heartily determined for the service of
God, I would now urge you to make a solemn surrender of yourself unto it. Do not only
form such a purpose in your heart, but expressly declare it in the divine presence. Such
solemnity in the manner of doing it is certainly very reasonable in the nature of things;
and surely it is highly expedient for binding to the Lord such a treacherous heart as we
know our own to be. It will be pleasant to reflect upon it, as done at such and such a
time, with such and such circumstances of place and method, which may serve to strike
the memory and the conscience. The sense of the vows of God which are upon you, will
strengthen you in an hour of temptation; and the recollection may also encourage your
humble boldness and freedom in applying to him, under the character and relation of
your Covenant God and Father, as future exigencies may require.
        2. Do it therefore; but do it deliberately. Consider what it is that you are to do,
and consider how reasonable it is that it should be done, and done cordially and
cheerfully; “not by constraint, but willingly,” (1 Pet. 5:2) for in this sense, and in every
other, “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7) Now surely there is nothing we should
do with greater cheerfulness or more cordial consent, than making such a surrender of
ourselves to this Lord, to the God who created us, who brought us into this pleasant
and well-furnished world, who supported us in our tender infancy, who guarded us in
the thoughtless days of childhood and youth, who has hitherto continually helped,
sustained, and preserved us. Nothing can be more reasonable than that we should
acknowledge him as our rightful owner and our Sovereign Ruler; than that we should
devote ourselves to him us our most gracious Benefactor, and seek him as our supreme
felicity. Nothing can be more apparently equitable than that we, the product of his
power, and the price of his Son's blood, should be his, and his for ever. If you see the
matter in its just view, it will be the grief of your soul that you have ever alienated
yourself from the blessed God and his service: so far will you be from wishing to
continue in that state of alienation another year, or another day, you will rejoice to bring
back to him his revolted creature; and as you have in times past “yielded your members
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin,” you will delight to “yield yourselves unto
God as alive from the dead,” and to employ “your members as instruments of
righteousness unto God.” (Rom. 6:13)
         3. The surrender will also be as entire as it is cheerful and immediate. All you are,
and all you have, and all you can do, your time, your possessions, your influence over
others, will be devoted to him, that for the future it may be employed entirety for him,
and to his glory. You will desire to keep back nothing from him; but will seriously
judge that you are then in the truest and noblest sense your own, when you are most
entirely his. You are also, on this great occasion, to resign all that you have to the
disposal of his wise and gracious providence; not only owning his power, but
consenting to his undoubted right to do what he pleases with you, and all that he has
given you; and declaring a hearty approbation of all that he has done, and of all that he
may farther do.
         4. Once more, let me remind you that this surrender must be perpetual. Yon
must give yourself up to God in such a manner as never more to pretend to be your
own; for the rights of God are, like his nature, eternal an immutable; and with regard to
his rational creatures, are the same yesterday, today, and for ever.
         5. I would farther advise and urge that this dedication may be made with all
possible solemnity. Do it in express words. And perhaps it may be in many cases most
expedient, as many pious divines have recommended, to do it in writing. Set your hand
and seal to it, “that on such a day of such a month and year, and at such a place, on full
consideration and serious reflection, you came to this happy resolution, that,
whatsoever others might do, you would serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15)
         6. Such an instrument you may, if you please draw up for yourself; or, if you
rather choose to have it drawn up to your hand, you may find something of this nature
below, in which you may easily make such alterations as shall suit your circumstances,
where there is any thing peculiar in them. But whatever you use, weigh it well,
meditate attentively upon it, that you may “not be rash with your mouth to utter any
thing before God.” (Eccel. 5:2) And when you determine to execute this instrument, let
the transaction be attended with some more than ordinary; religious retirement. Make
it, if you conveniently can, a day of secret fasting and prayer; and when your heart is
prepared with a becoming awe of the Divine Majesty, with an humble confidence in his
goodness, and an earnest desire of his favor, then present yourself on your knees before
God, and read it over deliberately and solemnly; and when you have signed it, lay it by
in some secure place, where you may review it whenever you please; and make it a rule
with yourself to review it, if possible, at certain seasons of the year, that you may keep
up the remembrance of it. And God grant that you may be enabled to keep it, and in the
whole of your conversation to walk according to it. May it be an anchor to your soul in
every temptation, and a cordial to it in every affliction. May the recollection or it
embolden your addresses to the throne of grace now, and give additional strength to
your departing spirit, in a consciousness that it is ascending to your covenant God and
Father, and to that gracious Redeemer, whose power and faithfulness will securely
“keep what you commit to him unto that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12)

                               An Example of Self-Dedication.
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        “Eternal and unchangeable Jehovah! thou great Creator of heaven and earth, and
adorable Lord of angels and men, I desire, with the deepest humiliation and abasement
of soul, to fall down at this time in thine awful presence, and earnestly pray that thou
wilt penetrate 'my heart with a suitable sense of thine unutterable and inconceivable
        “Trembling may justly take bold upon me, (Job 20:6) when I, a sinful worm,
presume to lift up my head to thee, presume to appear in thy majestic presence on such
an occasion as this. Who am I, O Lord God! or what is my house? What is my nature or
descent, my character and desert, that I should thus address the King of kings, and Lord
of lords! I blush and am confounded before thee. But, O Lord! great as is thy majesty, so
also is thy mercy. If thou wilt hold converse with any of thy creatures, thy superlatively
exalted nature must stoop, must stoop infinitely low. And I know, that in and through
Jesus, the Son of thy love, thou condescendest to visit sinful mortals, and to allow their
approach to thee, and their covenant intercourse with thee; nay, I know that the scheme
and plan is thine own, and that thou hast graciously sent to propose it to us; as none
untaught by thee would have been able to form it, or inclined to embrace it, even when
actually proposed.
        “To thee therefore do I now come, invited by the name of thy Son, and trusting in
his righteousness and grace. Laying myself at thy feet, ‘with shame and confusion of
face,’ and ‘smiting, upon my breast,’ I say, with the humble publican, ‘God be merciful
to me a sinner!’ (Luke 18:13) I acknowledge, O Lord! that I have been a great
transgressor. ‘My sins have reached unto heaven,’ (Rev. 18:5) and ‘my iniquities are
lifted up unto the skies.’ (Jer. 51:9) The irregular propensities of my corrupted and
degenerated nature have, in ten thousand aggravated instances, ‘wrought to bring forth
fruit unto death.’ (Rom. 8:5) And if thou shoudst be strict to mark my offences, I must
be silent under a load of guilt, and immediately sink into destruction. But thou hast
graciously healed me to return unto thee, though I have been a wandering sheep, a
prodigal son, a backsliding child. (Jer. 3:22) Behold, therefore, O Lord! I come unto thee.
I come, convinced not only of my sin, but of my folly. I come, from my very heart
ashamed of myself, and with an acknowledgment, in the sincerity and humility of my
soul, that ‘I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.’ (1 Sam. 26:21) I am
confounded myself at the remembrance of these things; but be thou ‘merciful to my
unrighteousness, and do not remember against me my sins and my transgressions!’
(Heb. 8:12) Permit me, O Lord, to bring back unto thee those powers and faculties
which I have ungratefully and sacrilegiously alienated from thy service; and receive, I
beseech thee, thy poor revolted creature, who is now convinced of thy right to him, and
desires nothing in the whole world: so much as to be thine!
        "Blessed God! it is with the utmost solemnity that I make this surrender of myself
unto thee. ‘Hear, O heavens! and give ear, O earth! I avouch the Lord this day to be my
God, (Deut. 26:17) and I avouch and declare myself this day to be one of his covenant
children and people. Hear, O thou God of heaven! and record it in the book of thy
remembrance,’ (Matt. 3:16) that henceforth I am thine, entirely thine. I would not merely
consecrate unto thee some of my powers, or some of my possessions, or give thee a
certain proportion of my services, or all I am capable of for a limited time; but I would
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

be wholly thine, and thine for ever. From this day I would solemnly renounce all the
‘former lords which have had dominion over me,’ (Isai. 26:13) every sin and every lust;
and bid, in thy name, an eternal defiance to the powers of hell, which have most
unjustly usurped the empire over my soul, and to all the corruptions which their fatal
temptations have introduced into it. The whole frame of my nature, all the faculties of
my mind, and all the members of my body, would I present before thee this day, ‘as a
living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which’ I know to be ‘my most reasonable
service.’ (Rom. 12:1) To thee I consecrate all my worldly possessions: in thy service I
desire to spend all the remainder of my time upon earth, and beg thou wouldst instruct
and influence me, so that, whether my abode here be longer or shorter, every year and
month, every day and hour, may be used in such a manner as shall most effectually
promote thine honor, and subserve the designs of thy wise and gracious providence.
And I earnestly pray, that, whatever influence thou givest me over others, in any of the
superior relations of life in which I may stand, or in consequence of any peculiar regard
which may be paid to me, thou wouldst give me the strength and courage to exert
myself to the utmost for thy glory; resolving not only that I will myself do it, but that all
others, so far as I can rationally and properly influence them, 'shall serve the Lord’
(Josh. 24:15) In this course, O blessed God! would I steadily persevere to the very end of
life; earnestly praying, that every future day of it may supply the deficiencies and
correct the irregularities of the former; and that I may, by divine grace, be enabled not
only to hold on in that happy way, but daily to grow more active in it!
        “Nor do I only consecrate all that I am and have to thy service, but I also most
humbly resign, and submit to thy holy and sovereign will, myself, and all that I can call
mine. I leave, O Lord! to thy management and direction, all I possess, and all I wish;
and set every enjoyment and every interest before thee, to be disposed of as thou
pleasest. Continue or remove what thou hast given me; bestow or refuse what I imagine
I want, as thou, Lord, shalt see good! And though I dare not say I will never repine, yet
I hope I may venture to say, that I will labor not only to submit, but to acquiesce; not
only to bear what thou doest in thy most afflictive dispensations, but to consent to it,
and to praise thee for it; contentedly resolving, in all thou appointest for me, my will
into thine, and looking on myself as nothing, and on thee, O God! as the great eternal
ALL, whose word ought to determine every thing, and whose government ought to be
the joy of the whole rational creation.
        “Use me, O Lord! I beseech thee, as the instrument of thy glory; and honor me so
far, as, either by doing or suffering what thou shalt appoint, to bring some revenue of
praise to thee, and of benefit to the world in which I dwell! And may it please thee,
from this day forward, to number me among thy peculiar people! that I may ‘no more
be a stranger and foreigner, but a fellow-citizen with the saints, and of the household of
God!’ (Eph. 2:19) Receive, O heavenly Father! thy returning prodigal! Wash me in the
blood of thy dear Son; clothe me with his perfect righteousness; and sanctify me
throughout by the power of thy Spirit! Destroy, I beseech thee, more and more the
power of sin in my heart! Transform me more into thine own image, and fashion me to
the resemblance of Jesus, whom henceforward I would acknowledge as my teacher and
sacrifice, my intercessor and my Lord! Communicate to me, I beseech thee, all needful
influences of thy purifying. thy cheering, and thy comforting Spirit! And lift up that
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

'light of thy countenance upon me,' which will put the sublimest joy and ‘gladness into
my soul.’ (Psa. 4:6,7)
        “Dispose my affairs, O God! in a manner which may be most subservient to thy
glory and my own truest happiness; and when I have done and borne thy will upon
earth, call me from hence at what time and in what manner thou pleasest: only grant,
that in my dying moments, and in the near prospect of eternity, I may remember these
my engagements to thee, and may employ my latest breath in thy service. And do thou,
Lord, when thou seest the agonies of dissolving nature upon me, remember this
covenant too, even though I should then be incapable of recollecting it. Look down, O
my heavenly Father! with a pitying eye, upon thy languishing, thy dying child; place
thine everlasting arms underneath me for my support; put strength and confidence into
my departing spirit, and receive it to the embraces of thine everlasting love. Welcome it
to the abodes of them that sleep in Jesus, (1 Thess. 4:14) to wait with them that glorious
day, when the last off thy promises to thy covenant people shall be fulfilled in their
triumphant resurrection, and in that abundant entrance which shall be administered to
them into that everlasting kingdom, (2 Pet. 1:12) of which thou hast assured them by
thy covenant, and in the hope of which I now lay hold of it, desiring to live and to die,
as. with mine hand on that hope.
        “And when I am thus numbered among the dead, and all the interests of
mortality are over with me for ever, if this solemn memorial should chance to fall into
the hands of my surviving friends, may it be the means of making serious impression
on their minds. May they read it, not only as my language, but as their own; and learn
to fear the Lord my God, and with me, to put their trust under the shadow of his wing
for time and for eternity! And may they also learn to adore with me that grace which
inclines our hearts to enter into the covenant, and condescends to admit us into it when
so inclined; ascribing, with me, and with all the nations of the redeemed, to the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost, that glory, honor, and praise, which is so justly due to
each divine person for the part he bears " in this illustrious work. Amen.

   N.B. For the sake of those who may think the preceding Form of Self-Dedication too
   long to be transcribed, as it is possible many will, I have, at the desire of a much
   esteemed friend, added the following Abridgment of it, which should, by all means, be
   attentively weighed in every clause before it is executed; and any word or phrase which
   may seem liable to exception, changed, that the whole heart may consent to it all.

        “Eternal and ever-blessed God! I desire to present myself before thee, with the
deepest humiliation and abasement of soul, sensible how unworthy such a sinful worm
is to appear before the holy Majesty of heaven, the King of kings and Lord of lords, and
especially on such an occasion as this, ever to dedicate myself, without reserve, to thee.
But the scheme and plan is thine own. Thine infinite condescension hath offered it by
thy Son, and thy grace hath inclined my heart to accept of it.
        “I come, therefore, acknowledging myself to have been a great offender; smiting
upon my breast, and saying with the humble publican, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’
I come, invited by the name of thy Son, and wholly trusting in his perfect righteousness,
entreating that for his sake thou wilt be merciful to my unrighteousness, and wilt no
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

more remember my sins. Receive, I beseech thee, thy revolted creature, who is now
convinced of thy right to him, and desires nothing so much as that he may be thine
         “This day do I, with the utmost solemnity, surrender myself to thee. I renounce
all former lords that have had dominion over me; and I consecrate to thee all that I am,
and all that I have; the faculties of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly
possessions, my time, and my influence over others; to be all used entirely for thy glory,
and resolutely employed in obedience to thy commands, as long as thou continuest me
in life; with an ardent desire and humble resolution to continue thine through all the
endless ages of eternity; ever holding myself in an attentive posture to observe the first
intimations of thy will, and ready to spring forward with zeal and joy to the immediate
execution of it.
         “To thy direction also I resign myself, and all I am and have, to be disposed of by
thee in such a manner as thou shalt in thine infinite wisdom judge most subservient to
the purposes of thy glory. To thee I leave the management of all events, and say without
reserve, ‘Not my will, but thine be done,’ rejoicing with a loyal heart in thine unlimited
government, as what ought to be the delight of the whole rational creation.
         “Use me, O Lord, I beseech thee, as an instrument of thy service! number me
among thy peculiar people! Let me be washed in the blood of thy dear Son! Let me be
clothed with his righteousness!. Let me be sanctified by his Spirit! Transform me more
and more into his image! Impart to me through him, all needful influences of thy
purifying, cheering, and comforting Spirit! And let my life be spent under those
influences, and in the light of thy gracious countenance, as my Father and my God!
         “And when the solemn hour of death comes, may I remember thy covenant,
‘well ordered in all things and sure, as all my salvation and all my desire,’ (2 Sam. 23:5)
though every hope and enjoyment is perishing; and do thou, O Lord! remember it too.
Look down with pity, O my heavenly Father, on thy languishing, dying child! Embrace
me in thine everlasting arms! Put strength and confidence into my departing spirit, and
receive it to the abodes of them that sleep in Jesus, peacefully and joyfully to wait the
accomplishment of thy great promise to all thy people, even that of a glorious
resurrection, and of eternal happiness in thine heavenly presence!
         “And if any surviving friend should, when I am in the dust, meet with this
memorial of my solemn transactions with thee, may he make the engagement his own;
and do thou graciously admit him to partake in all the blessings of thy covenant,
through Jesus the great Mediator of it; to whom, with thee, O Father, and thy Holy
Spirit, be ever-lasting praises ascribed, by all the millions who are thus saved by thee,
and by all those other celestial spirits in whose work and blessedness thou shalt call
them to share! Amen.”
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                    CHAPTER XVIII.

                      ON COMMUNION IN THE LORDS SUPPER.

   1. If the reader has received the Ordinance of Baptism, and; as above recommended,
   dedicated himself to God.—2. He is urged to ratify that engagement at the Table of the
   Lord.— 3. From a view of the ends for which that Ordinance was instituted.—4. Whence
   its usefulness is strongly inferred.—5. And from the Authority of Christ's Appointment;
   which is solemnly pressed on the conscience.—6. Objections from apprehensions of
   Unfitness.—7. Weakness of grace, &c. briefly answered.—8. At least, serious
   thoughtfulness on this subject is absolutely insisted upon.—9. The chapter is closed with
   a prayer for one who desires to attend, yet finds himself pressed with remaining doubts.

1. I hope this chapter will find you, by a most express consent, become one of God's
covenant people, solemnly and most cordially devoted to his service; and it is my
hearty prayer, that the engagements you have made on earth may be ratified in heaven.
But for your farther instruction and edification; give me leave to remind you, that our
Lord Jesus Christ hath appointed a peculiar manner of expressing our regard to him, by
commemorating his dying love, which, though it does not forbid any other proper way
of doing it, must by no means be set aside or neglected for any human methods, how
prudent and expedient soever they may appear to us.
        2. Our Lord has wisely ordained, that the advantages of society should be
brought into religion; and as, by his command, professed Christians assemble together
for other acts of public worship, so He has been pleased to institute a social ordinance,
in which a whole assembly of them is to come to his table, and there to eat the same
bread; and drink the same cup. And this they are to do, as a token of their affectionate
remembrance of his dying love, of their solemn surrender of themselves to God, and of
their sincere love to one another, and to all their fellow-Christians.
        3. That these are indeed the great ends of the Lord's supper, I shall not now stay
to argue at large. You need only read what the apostle Paul hath written in the tenth
and eleventh chapters or his first epistle to the Corinthians, to convince you fully of this.
He there expressly tells us, that our Lord commanded “the bread to be eaten,” and “the
wine to be drunk, in remembrance of him,” (1 Cor. 11:24,25) or as a commemoration or
memorial of him; so that, as often as we attend this institution, “we show forth the
Lord's death,” which we are to do “even until he come,” (1 Cor. 11:26) And it is
particularly asserted, that “the cup is the New Testament in his blood;” that is, it is a
seal of that covenant which was ratified by his blood. Now, it is evident, that, in
consequence of this, we are to approach it with a view to that covenant, desiring its
blessings, and resolving, by divine grace, to comply with its demands. On the whole,
therefore, as the apostle speaks, we have “communion in the body and the blood of
Christ,” (1 Cor. 10:16) and partaking of his table and of his cup, we converse with
Christ, and join ourselves to him as his people; as the Jews, by eating their sacrifices,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

conversed with Jehovah, and joined themselves to him. He farther reminds them, that,
though many, they were “one bread and one body,” being “all partakers of that one
bread,” (1 Cor. 10:17) and being “all made to drink into one Spirit;” (1 Cor. 12:13) that is,
meeting together as if they were but one family, and joining in the commemoration of
that one blood which was their common ransom and of the Lord Jesus, their common
head. Now, it is evident, all these reasonings are equally applicable to Christians in
succeeding ages. Permit me, therefore, by the authority of our divine Master, to press
upon you: the observation or this precept.
        4. And let me also urge it, from the apparent tendency which it has to promote
your truest advantage. You are setting out in the Christian life; and I have reminded
you at large of the opposition you must expect to meet in it. It is the love of Christ
which must animate you to break through all. What then can be more desirable than to
bear about with you a lively sense of it? and what can awaken that sense more than the
contemplation of his death as there represented? Who can behold the bread broken, and
the wine poured out, and not reflect how the body of the blessed Jesus was even torn in
pieces by his sufferings, and his sacred blood poured forth like water on the ground?
Who can think of the heart-rending agonies of the Son of God as the price of our
redemption and salvation, and not feel his soul melted with tenderness, and inflamed
with grateful affection? What an exalted view doth it give us of the blessings of the
Gospel-covenant, when we consider it as established in the blood of God's only-
begotten Son! And when we make our approach to God as our heavenly Father, and
give up ourselves to his service in this solemn manner, what an awful tendency has it to
fix the conviction, that we are not our own, being bought with such a price! (1 Cor 6:19,
20) What a tendency has it to guard us against every temptation, to those sins which we
have so solemnly renounced, and to engage our fidelity to him to whom we have bound
our souls as with an oath! Well may our hearts be knit together in mutual love, (Col.
2:2) when we consider ourselves as “one in Christ:” (Gal. 3:28) his blood becomes the
cement of the society, joins us in spirit, not only to each other, but “to all that in every
place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours,” (1 Cor. 1:2)
and we anticipate in pleasing hope that blessed day, when the assembly shall be
complete, and we shall all “be for ever with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17) Well may these
views engage us to deny ourselves, and to “take up our cross and follow our crucified
Master.” (Matt. 16:24) Well may they engage us to do our utmost, by prayer, and all
other suitable endeavors, to serve his followers and his friends; to serve those whom he
hath purchased with his blood, and who are to be his associates and ours, in the glories
of a happy immortality.
        5. It is also the express institution and command of our blessed Redeemer that
the members of such societies should be tenderly solicitous for the spiritual welfare of
each other: and that, on the whole, his churches may be kept pure and holy, that they
should “withdraw themselves from every brother that walketh disorderly;” (2 Thess.
3:6) that they should “mark such as cause offences” or scandals among them, “contrary
to the doctrine which they have learned, and avoid them;” (Rom. 16:17) “that if any
obey not the word of Christ by his apostles,” they should “have no fellowship or
communion with such, that they may be ashamed;” (2 Thess. 3:14) that they should “not
eat with such as are notoriously irregular” in their-behavior, but, on the contrary,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

should “put away from among themselves such wicked persons,” (1 Cor. 5:11-13) It is
evident, therefore, that the institution of such societies is greatly for the honor of
Christianity, and for the advantage of its particular professors. And consequently, every
consideration of obedience to our common Lord, and of prudent regard to our own
benefit and that of our brethren, will require that those who love our Lord Jesus Christ
in sincerity should enter into them, and assemble among them, in these their most
solemn and peculiar acts of communion, at his table.
       6. I entreat you, therefore, and if I may presume to say it, in his name and by his
authority, I charge it on your conscience, that this precept of our dying Lord go not, as it
were, for nothing with you; but that, if you indeed love him, you keep this, as well as
the rest of his commandments. I know you may be ready to form objections. I have
elsewhere debated many of the chief of them at large, and I hope not without some
good effect.* The great question is that which relates to your being prepared for a
worthy attendance; and in conjunction with what has been said before, I think that may
be brought to a very short issue. Have you, so far as you know your own heart, been
sincere in that deliberate surrender of yourself to God, through Christ, which I
recommended in the former chapter? If you have, whether it were with or without the
particular form or manner of doing it there recommended, you have certainly taken
hold of the covenant, and therefore should devote yourself to God, in obedience to all
his commands. And there is not, and cannot be, any other view of the ordinance in
which you can have any further objection to it. If you desire to remember Christ’s death;
if you desire to renew the dedication of yourself to God through him; if you would list
yourself among his people; if you would love them, and do them good according to
your ability, and, on the whole, would not allow yourself in the practice of anyone
known sin, or in the omission of any one known duty, then I will venture confidently to
say, not only that you will be welcome to the ordinance, but that it was instituted for
such as you.
       7. As for other objections, a few words may suffice by way of reply. The
weakness of the religious principle in your soul, if it be really implanted there, is so far
from being an argument against your seeking such a method to strengthen it, that it
rather strongly enforces the necessity of doing it. The neglect of this solemnity, by so
many that call themselves Christians, should rather engage you so much the more to
distinguish your zeal for an institution in this respect so much slighted and injured.
And as for the fears of aggravated guilt, in case of apostacy, do not indulge them. This
may, by the divine blessing, be an effectual remedy against the evil you fear; and it is
certain, that after what you must already have known and felt, before you could be
brought into your present situation, (on the supposition I have now been making) there
can be no room to think or a retreat; no room, even for the wretched hope of being less
miserable than the generality of those that have perished. Your scheme, therefore, must
be to make your salvation as sure, and to make it as glorious, as possible; and I know
not any appointment of our blessed Redeemer which may have a more comfortable
aspect upon that blessed end, than this which I flat recommending to you.

*   See the Fourth of my Sermons to Young Persons.
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        8. One thing I would at least insist upon, and I see not with what face it can be
denied. I mean, that you should take this matter into serious consideration; that you
should diligently inquire, “whether you have reason in your conscience to believe it is
the will of God you should now approach to the ordinance or not;” and that you should
continue your reflections, your inquiries, and your prayers, till you find farther
encouragement to come, if that encouragement be hitherto wanting. For of this be
assured, that a state in which you are on the whole unfit to approach this ordinance, is a
state in which you are destitute of the necessary preparations for death and heaven; in
which, therefore, if you would not allow yourselves to slumber on the brink or
destruction, you ought not to rest so much as one single day.

   A Prayer for one who earnestly desires ins to approach the Table of the Lord, yet has some
               remaining doubts concerning his right to that solemn ordinance.

       “BLESSED LORD! I adore thy wise and gracious appointments, for the
edification of thy church in holiness and in love. I thank thee that thou hast commanded
thy servants to form themselves into churches; and I adore my gracious Savior, who
hath instituted, as with his dying breath, the holy solemnity of his Supper, to be
through all ages a memorial of his dying love, and a bond of that union which it is his
sovereign pleasure that his people should preserve. I hope thou, Lord, art witness to the
sincerity with which I desire to give myself up to thee; and that I may call thee to record
on my soul, that, if I now hesitate about this particular manner of doing it, it is not
because I would allow myself to break any of thy commands, or to slight any of thy
favors. I trust thou knowest that my present delay arises only from my uncertainty as to
my duty, and a fear of profaning holy things by an unworthy approach to them. Yet
surely, O Lord! if thou hast given me a reverence for thy command, a desire of
communion with thee, and a willingness to devote myself wholly to thy service, I may
regard it as a token for good, that thou art disposed to receive me, and that I am not
wholly unqualified for an ordinance which I so highly honor and so earnestly desire. I
therefore make it my humble request unto thee, O Lord! this day, that than wouldst
graciously he pleased to instruct me in my duty, and to teach me the way which I
should take ‘Examine me, O Lord! and prove me, try my reins and my heart!’ (Psa. 26:2)
Is there any secret sin, in the love and practice of which I would indulge? Is there any of
thy precepts in the habitual breach of which I would allow myself? I trust I can appeal
to thee as a witness, that there is not. Let me not, then, wrong my own soul, by a
causeless and sinful absence from thy sacred table! But grant, O Lord! I beseech thee,
that thy word, thy providence. and thy Spirit, may so concur as to ‘make my way plain
before me!” (Pro. 15:19) Scatter my remaining doubts. if thou seest that they have no
just foundation! Fill me with more assured faith, with a more ardent love, and plead
thine own cause with mine heart in such a manner as that I may not be able any longer
to delay that approach, which, if I am thy servant indeed, is equally my duty and my
privilege! In the mean time, grant that it may never be long out of my thoughts; but that
I may give all diligence. If there be any remaining occasion of doubt, to remove it by a
more affectionate concern to avoid whatever is displeasing to the eyes of thine holiness,
and to practice the full extent of my duty. May the views of Christ crucified be so
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

familiar to my mind; and may a sense of his dying love so powerfully constrain my
soul, that my own growing experience may put it out of all question that I am one of
those for whom he intended this feast of love!
        “And even now, as joined to thy church in spirit and in love, though not in so
express and intimate a bond as I could wish, would I heartily pray that thy blessing
may be on all thy people; that thou wouldst ‘feed thine heritage, and lift them up for
ever!’ (Psa. 28:9) May every Christian church flourish in knowledge, in holiness, and in
love! May all thy priests be clothed with salvation, that by their means thy chosen
people may be made joyful. (Psa. 132:16) And may there be a glorious accession to thy
churches every where, of those who may fly to them ‘as a cloud, and as doves to their
windows.’ (Isa. 60:8) May thy table, O Lord! be ‘furnished with guests,’ (Matt. 22:10)
and may all that ‘love thy salvation say, Let the Lord be magnified, who hath pleasure
in the prosperity of his servants.’ (Psa. 35:27) And I earnestly pray, that all who profess
‘to have received Christ Jesus the Lord,’ may be duly careful to ‘walk in him,’ (Col. 2:6)
and that we may all be prepared for the general assembly of the first-born, and may join
in that nobler and more immediate worship where all these types and shadows shall be
laid aside; where even these memorials shall be no longer necessary; but a living,
present Redeemer shall be the everlasting joy of those who here his absence have
delighted to commemorate his death. Amen’
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                    CHAPTER XIX.


   1. A letter to a pious friend on this subject introduced here.—2. General plan of
   directions.—3. For the beginning of the day.—4. Lifting up the heart to God at our first
   awakening.—5, 10. Setting ourselves to the secret devotions of the morning, with respect
   to which particular advice is given.—11. For the progress of the day.—12. Directions are
   given concerning seriousness in devotion.—13. Diligence in business.—14. Prudence in
   recreations.—15. Observations of Providence.—16. Watchfulness against temptations.—
   17. Dependence on divine influence.—18. Government of the thoughts when in
   solitude.—19. Management of Discourse in company.—20. For the conclusion of the
   day.—21. With the secret devotions of the evening.—22, 23. Directions for self-
   examination at large.—24. Lying down with a proper temper.—25. Conclusion of the
   letter.—26. And of the chapter. With a serious view of death, proper to be taken at the
   close of the day.

1. I would hope, that upon serious consideration, self-examination, and prayer, the
reader has given himself up to God; and that his concern flow is to inquire, how he may
act according to the vows of God which are upon him. Now, for his farther assistance
here, besides the general view I have already given of the Christian temper and
character, I will propose some more particular directions relating to maintaining that
devout, spiritual, and heavenly character, which may, in the language of Scripture, be
called “a daily walking with God, or being in his fear all the day long.” (Prov. 23:17)
And I know not how I can express the idea and plan which I have formed of this, in a
more clear and distinct manner than I did in a letter which I wrote many years ago [in
1727] to a young person of eminent piety, with whom I had then an intimate friendship;
and who, to the great grief of all that knew him, died a few months after he received it
Yet I hope he lived long enough to reduce the directions to practice, which I wish and
pray that every reader may do, so far as they may properly suit his capacities and
circumstances in life, considering it as if addressed to himself. I say, and desire it may
be observed, that I wish my reader may act on these directions so far as they may
properly suit his capacity and circumstances in life; for I would be far from laying down
the following particulars as universal rules for all, or for any one person in the world, at
all times. Let them be practiced by those that are able, and when they have leisure; and
when you cannot reach them all, come as near the most important of them as you
conveniently can. With this precaution I proceed to the letter, which I would hope, after
this previous care to guard against the danger of mistaking it, will not discourage any,
the weakest Christian. Let us humbly and cheerfully do what we can, and rejoice that
we have so gracious a Father, who knows all our infirmities, and so compassionate a
High Priest, to recommend to divine acceptance the feeblest efforts of sincere duty and
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

My dear Friend,
       Since you desire my thoughts in writing, and at large, on the subject of our late
conversation, viz. “By what particular methods, in our daily conduct, devotion and
usefulness may be most happily maintained and secured “—I set myself with
cheerfulness to recollect and digest the hints which I then gave you; hoping it may be of
some service to you in your most important interests; and may also fix on my own mind
a deeper sense of my obligations to govern my own life by the rules I offer to others. I
esteem attempts of this kind among the pleasantest fruits, and the surest cements of
friendship; and as I hope ours will last for ever, I am persuaded a mutual care to cherish
sentiments of this kind will add everlasting endearments to it.
       2. The directions you will expect from me on this occasion naturally divide
themselves into three heads: How we are to regard God in the beginning; the progress;
and the close of the day. I will open my heart freely to you with regard to each, and will
leave you to judge how far these hints may suit your circumstances; aiming at least to
keep between the extremes of a superstitions strictness in trifles, and an indolent
remissness, which, if admitted in little things, may draw after it criminal neglects, and
at length more criminal indulgences.
       3. In the beginning of the day: It should certainly be our care to lift up our heads
to God as soon as we wake, and while we are rising; and then, to set ourselves seriously
and immediately to the secret devotions of the morning.
       4. For the first of these it seems exceedingly natural. There are so many things
that may suggest a great variety of pious reflections and ejaculations which are so
obvious that one would think a serious mind could hardly miss them. The ease and
cheerfulness of our minds on our first awaking; the refreshment we find from sleep; the
security we have enjoyed in that defenceless state; the provision of warm and decent
apparel; the cheerful light of the returning sun; or even (which is not unfit to mention to
you) the contrivances of art, taught and furnished by the great Author of all our
conveniences, to supply us with many useful hours of life in the absence of the sun; the
hope of returning to the dear society of our friends; the prospect of spending another
day in the service of God and the improvement of our own minds; and above all, the
lively hope of a joyful resurrection to an eternal day of happiness and glory: any of
these particulars, and many more which I do not mention, may furnish its with matter
of pleasing reflection and cheerful praise while we are rising. And for our farther
assistance, when we are alone at this time, it may not be improper to speak sometimes
to ourselves, and sometimes to our heavenly Father, in the natural expressions of joy
and thankfulness. Permit me, Sir, to add, that, if we find our hearts in such a frame at
our first awaking, even that is just matter of praise, and the rather, as perhaps it is an
answer to the prayer with which we lay down.
       5. For the exercise of secret devotion in the morning, which I hope will generally
be our first work, I cannot prescribe an exact method to another. You must, my dear
friend, consult your own taste in some measure. The constituent pans of the service are,
in the general, plain. Were I to propose a particular model for those who have half or
three quarters of an hour at command, which, with prudent conduct, I suppose most
may have, it should he this:
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

        6. To begin the stated devotions of the day with a solemn act of praise, offered to
God on our knees, and generally with a low, yet distinct voice; acknowledging the
mercies we have been reflecting on while rising, never forgetting to mention Christ as
the great foundation of all our enjoyments and our hopes, or to return thanks for the
influences of the blessed Spirit which have led our beans to God, or are then engaging
us to seek him. This, as well as other offices of devotion afterwards mentioned, must be
done attentively and sincerely; for not to offer our praises heartily, is, in the sight of
God, not to praise him at all. This address of praise may properly be concluded with an
express renewal of our dedication to God, declaring our continued repeated resolution
of being devoted to him, and particularly of living to his glory the ensuing day.
        7. It may be proper, after this, to take a prospect of the day before us, so far as we
can probably foresee, in the general, where and how it may be spent; and seriously to
reflect, “How shall I employ myself for God this day? What business is to be done, and
in what order? What opportunities may I expect, either of doing or of receiving good?
What temptations am I likely to be assaulted with, in any place, company, or
circumstances, which may probably occur? In what instance have I lately failed? And
how shall I be safest now?”
        8. After this review it will be proper to offer up a short prayer, begging that God
would quicken us to each of these foreseen duties; that he would fortify us against each
of these apprehended dangers; that he would grant us success in such or such a
business undertaken for his glory; and also that he would help us to discover and
improve unforeseen opportunities to resist unexpected temptations, and to bear
patiently, and religiously, any afflictions which may surprise us in the day on which we
are entering.
        9. I would advise you after this to read some portion of Scripture: not a great
deal, nor the whole Bible in its course; but some select portions out of its most useful
parts, perhaps ten or twelve verses, not troubling yourself much about the exact
connection, or other critical niceties which may occur, though at other times I would
recommend them to your inquiry, as you have ability and opportunity, but considering
them merely in a devotional and practical view. Here take such instructions as readily
present themselves to your thoughts, repeat them over to your own conscience, and
charge your heart religiously to observe them, and act upon them, under a sense of the
divine authority which attends them. And if you pray over the substance of this
Scripture with your Bible open before you, it may impress your memory and your heart
yet more deeply, and may form you to a copiousness and variety, both of thought and
expression, in prayer.
        10. It might be proper to close these devotions with a psalm or hymn; and I
rejoice with you, that through the pious care of our sacred poets, we are provided with
so rich a variety for the assistance of the closet and family on these occasions, as well as
for the service of the sanctuary.
        11. The most material directions which have occurred to me relating to the
progress of the day, are these: That we be serious in the devotions of the day; that we be
diligent in the business of it, that is, in the prosecution of our worldly callings; that we
be temperate and prudent in the recreations of it; that we carefully mark the
providences of the day; that we cautiously guard against the temptations of it; that we
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

keep up a lively and humble dependence upon the divine influence, suitable to every
emergency of it; that we govern our thoughts well in the solitude of the day, and our
discourses well in the conversations of it. These, Sir, were the heads of a sermon which
you have lately heard me preach, and to which I know you referred in that request
which I am now endeavoring to answer. I will therefore touch upon the most material
hints which fall under each of these particulars.
         12. For seriousness in devotion, whether public or domestic, let us take a few
moments before we enter upon such solemnities, to pause, and reflect on the perfections
of the God we are addressing, on the importance of the business we are coming about,
on the pleasure and advantage of a regular and devout attendance, and on the guilt and
folly of an hypocritical formality. When engaged, let us maintain a strict watchfulness
over our own spirits and check the first wanderings of thought. And when the duty is
over, let us immediately reflect on the manner in which it has been performed, and ask
our own consciences whether we have reason to conclude that we are accepted of God
in it? For there is a certain manner of going through these offices, which our own hearts
will immediately tell us “it is impossible for God to approve;” and if we have
inadvertently fallen into it, we ought to be deeply humbled before God for it, lest “our
very prayer become sin.” (Psa. 109:7)
         13. As for the hours of worldly business, whether it be that of the hands, or the
labor of a learned life not immediately relating to religious matters, let us set to the
prosecution of it with a sense of God’s authority, and with a regard to his glory. Let us
avoid a dreaming, sluggish, indolent temper, which nods over its work, and does only
the business of one hour in two or three. In opposition to this, which runs through the
life of some people, who yet think they are never idle, let us endeavor to dispatch as
much as we well can in a little time; considering that it is but a little we have in all. And
let us be habitually sensible of the need we have or the divine blessing to make our
labors successful.
         14. For seasons of diversion, let us take care that our recreations be well chosen;
that they be pursued with a good intention, to fit us for a renewed application to the
labors of life; and thus that they be only used in subordination to the honor of God, the
great end of all our actions. Let us take heed, that our hearts be not estranged from God
by them; and that they do not take up too much of our time; always remembering that
the facilities of human nature, and the advantages of the Christian revelation, were not
given us in vain; but that we are always to be in pursuit of some great and honorable
end, and to indulge ourselves in amusements and diversions no farther than as they
make a part in a scheme of rational and manly, benevolent and pious conduct.
         15. For the observation of Providence, it will be useful to regard the divine
interposition in our comforts and in our afflictions. In our comforts, whether more
common or extraordinary: that we find ourselves in continued health; that we are
furnished with food for support and pleasure; that we have so many agreeable ways of
employing our time; that we have so many friends, and those so good, and so happy;
that our business goes on so prosperously; that we go out and come in safely; and that
we enjoy composure and cheerfulness of spirit, without which nothing else could be
enjoyed: all these should be regarded as providential favors, and due acknowledgments
should be made to God on these accounts, as we pass through such agreeable scenes.
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

On the other hand, Providence is to be regarded in every disappointment, in every loss,
in every pain, in every instance of unkindness from those who have professed
friendship; and we should endeavor to argue ourselves into a patient submission, from
this consideration, that the hand of God is always mediately, if not immediately, in each
of them; and that, if they are not properly the work of Providence, they are at least
under his direction. It is a reflection which we should particularly make with relation to
those little cross accidents, (as we are ready to call them) and those infirmities and
follies in the temper and conduct of our intimate friends, which may else be ready to
discompose us. And it is the more necessary to guard our minds here, as wise and good
men often lose the command of themselves on these comparatively little occasions;
who, calling lip reason and religion to their assistance, stand the shock of great
calamities with fortitude and resolution.
         16. For watchfulness against temptations, it is necessary, when changing our
place, or our employment, to reflect, “What snares attended me here?” And as this
should be our habitual care, so we should especially guard against those snares which
in the morning we foresaw. And when we are entering on those circumstances in which
we expected the assault, we should reflect, especially if it be a matter of great
importance, “Now the combat is going to begin: now God and the blessed angels are
observing what constancy, what fortitude there is in my soul, and how far the divine
authority, and the remembrance of my own prayers and resolutions, will weigh with
me when it comes to a trial.”
         17. As for dependence on divine grace and influence, it must be universal; and
since we always need it, we must never forget that necessity. A moment spent in
humble fervent breathings after the communications of the divine assistance, may do
more good than many minutes spent in mere reasonings; and though indeed this
should not be neglected, since the light of reason is a kind of divine illumination, yet
still it ought to be pursued in a due sense of our dependence on the Father of Lights, or
where we think ourselves wisest, we may “become vain in our imaginations,” (Rom.
1:21,22) Let us therefore always call upon God, and say, for instance, when we are going
to pray, “Lord, fix my attention! Awaken my holy affections, and pour out upon me the
spirit of grace and of supplication!” (Zech. 12:10) When taking up a Bible or any other
good book, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law!
(Psa. 119:18) Enlighten my understanding! Warm my heart! May my good resolutions
be confirmed, and all the course of my life be in a proper manner regulated!” When
addressing ourselves to any worldly business, “Lord, prosper thou the work of mine
hands upon me, (Psa. 90:17) and give thy blessing to my honest endeavors!” When
going to any kind of recreation, “Lord, bless my refreshments! Let me not forget thee in
them, but still keep thy glory in view!” When coming into company, “Lord, may I do,
and get good! Let no corrupt communication proceed out of my mouth, but that which
is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers!” (Eph. 4:29)
When entering upon difficulties, “Lord, give me that wisdom which is profitable to
direct!” (Eccl. 10:10) “Teach me thy way, and lead me in a plain path!” (Psa. 27:11)
When encountering with temptations, “Let thy strength, O gracious Redeemer, be made
perfect in my weakness!” (2 Cor. 12:9) These instances may illustrate the design of this
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

direction, though they may be far from a complete enumeration of all the circumstances
in which it is to be regarded.
        18. For the government of our thoughts in solitude: let us accustom ourselves, on
all occasions, to exercise a due command over our thoughts. Let us take care of those
entanglements of passion, or those attachments to any present interest in view, which
would deprive us of our power over them. Let us set before us some profitable subject
of thought; such as the perfection of the blessed God, the love of Christ, the value of
time, the certainty and importance of death and judgment, and the eternity of happiness
or misery which is to follow. Let us also, at such intervals, reflect on what we have
observed as to the state of our own souls, with regard to the advance or decline of
religion; or on the last sermon we have heard or the last portion of Scripture we have
read. You may perhaps, in this connection, Sir, recollect what I have, if I remember
right, proposed to you in conversation; that it might be very useful to select some one
verse of Scripture which we have met with in the morning, and to treasure it up in our
mind, resolving to think of that at any time when we are at a loss for matter of pious
reflection, in any intervals of leisure for entering upon it. This will often be as a spring
from whence many profitable and delightful thoughts may rise, which perhaps we did
not before see in that connection and force. Or if it should not be so, yet I am persuaded
it will be much better to repent the same scripture in our mind a hundred times in a
day, with some pious ejaculation formed upon it, than to leave our thoughts at the
mercy of al1 those various trifles which may otherwise intrude upon us, the variety of
which will be far from making amends for their vanity.
        19. Lastly, for the government of our discourse in company. We should take
great care that no-thing may escape us which can expose us, or our Christian
profession, to censure and reproach; nothing injurious to those that are absent, or those
that are present; nothing malignant, nothing insincere, nothing which may corrupt,
nothing which may provoke, nothing which may mislead those about us. Nor should
we by any means be content that what we say is innocent: it should be our desire. that it
may be edifying to ourselves and others. In this view, we should endeavor to have
some subject of useful discourse always ready; in which we may be assisted by the hints
given about furniture for thought, under the former head. We should watch for decent
opportunities of introducing useful reflections; and if a pious friend attempt to do it, we
should endeavor to second it immediately. When the conversation does not turn
directly on religious subjects, we should endeavor to make it improving some other
way; we should reflect on the character and capacities of our company, that we may
lead them to talk of what they understand best; for their discourses on those subjects
will probably be most pleasant to themselves, as well as most useful to us. And in
pauses of discourse, it may not be improper to lift up a holy ejaculation to God, that his
grace may assist us and our friends in our endeavors to do good to each other; that all
we say or do may be worthy the character of reasonable creatures and of Christians.
        20. The directions for a religious closing or the day which I shall here mention,
are only two: let us see to it, that the secret duties of the evening be well performed; and
let us lie down on our beds in a pious frame.
        21. For the secret devotion in the evening, I would propose a method something
different from that in the morning; but still, as then, with due allowances for
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

circumstances which may make unthought-of alterations proper. I should advise to
read a portion of Scripture in the first place, with suitable reflections and prayer, as
above; then to read a hymn, or psalm; after this to enter on self-examination, to be
followed by a longer prayer than that which followed reading, to be formed on this
review of the day. In this address to the throne of grace, it will be highly proper to
entreat that God would pardon the omissions and offences of the day; to praise him for
mercies temporal and spiritual; to recommend ourselves to his protection for the
ensuing night; with proper petitions for others, whom we ought to bear on our hearts
before him; and particularly for those friends with whom we have conversed or
corresponded in the preceding day. Many other concerns will occur, both in morning
and evening prayer, which I have not here hinted at; but I did not apprehend that a full
enumeration of these things belonged, by any means, to our present purpose.
        22. Before I quit this head I must take the liberty to remind you, that self-
examination is so important a duty, that it will be worth our while to spend a few
words upon it. And this branch of it is so easy, that, when we have proper questions
before us, any person of a common understanding may hope to go through it with
advantage, under a divine blessing. I offer you therefore the following queries, which I
hope you will, with such alterations as you may judge requisite, keep near you for daily
use. “Did I awake as with God this morning, and rise with a grateful sense of his
goodness? How were the secret devotions of the morning performed? Did I offer my
solemn praises, and renew the dedication of myself to God. with becoming attention
and suitable affections? Did I lay my scheme for the business of the day wisely and
well? How did I read the Scriptures, and any other devotional or practical piece which I
afterwards found it convenient to review? Did it do my heart good, or was it a mere
amusement? How have the other stated devotions of the day been attended, whether in
the family or in public? Have I pursued the common business of the day with diligence
and spirituality, doing every thing in season, and with all convenient dispatch, and as
‘unto the Lord?’ (Col. 3:23) What time have I lost this day, in the morning, or the
forenoon, in the afternoon, or the evening?” for these divisions will assist your
recollection “and what has occasioned the loss of it? With what temper, and under what
regulations have the recreations of this day been pursued? Have I seen the hand of God
in my mercies, health, cheerfulness, food, clothing, books, preservation in journies,
success of business, conversation, and kindness of friends, &c.? Have I seen it in
afflictions, and particularly in little things, which had a tendency to vex and disquiet
me? Have I received my comforts thankfully, and my afflictions submissively? How
have I guarded against the temptations of the day, particularly against this or that
temptation which I foresaw in the morning? Have I maintained a dependence on divine
influence? Have I ‘lived by faith on the Son of God,’ (Gal. 2:20) and regarded Christ this
day as my teacher and governor, my atonement and intercessor, my example and
guardian, my strength and forerunner? Have I been looking forward to death and
eternity this day, and considered myself as a probationer for heaven, and, through
grace, an expectant of it? Have I governed my thoughts well, especially in such or such
an interval of solitude? How was my subject of thought this day chosen, and how was it
regarded? Have I governed my discourses well, in such and such company? Did I say
nothing passionate, mischievous, slanderous, imprudent, impertinent? Has my heart
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

this day been full of love to God, and to all mankind? and have I sought, and found,
and improved, opportunities of doing and of getting good? With what attention and
improvement have I read the Scripture this evening? How was self-examination
performed the last night? and how have I profited this day by any remarks I then made
on former negligences and mistakes? With what temper did I then lie down, and
compose myself to sleep?”
        22. You will easily see, Sir, that these questions are so adjusted as to be an
abridgment of the most material advice I have given in this letter; and I believe I need
not, to a person of your understanding, say any thing as to the usefulness of such
inquiries. Conscience will answer them in a few minutes; but if you think them too
large and particular, you may make still a shorter abstract for daily use, and reserve
these, with such obvious alteration as will then be necessary for seasons of more than
ordinary exactness in review, which I hope will occur at least once a week. Secret
devotion being thus performed, before drowsiness render us unfit for it, the interval
between that and our going to rest must be conducted by the rules mentioned under the
next head. And nothing will farther remain to be considered here, but,
        24. The sentiments with which we should lie down and compose ourselves to
sleep. Now here it is obviously suitable to think of the divine goodness, in adding
another day, and the mercies of it, to the former days and mercies of our life; to take
notice of the indulgence of Providence in giving us commodious habitations and easy
beds, and continuing to us such health of body that we can lay ourselves down at ease
upon them, and such serenity of mind as leaves us any room to hope for refreshing
sleep; a refreshment to be sought, not merely as an indulgence to animal nature, but as
whit our wise Creator, in order to keep us humble in the midst of so many infirmities,
has been pleased to make necessary to our being able to pursue his service with
renewed alacrity. Thus may our sleeping, as well as our waking hours, be in some sense
devoted to God. And when we are just going to resign ourselves to the image of death,
to what one of the ancients beautifully calls “its lesser mysteries,” it is also evidently
proper to think seriously of that end of all the living, and to renew those actings of
repentance and faith which we should judge necessary if we were to wake no more
here. You have once, Sir, seen a meditation of that kind in my hand: I will transcribe it
for you in the postscript; and therefore shall add no more to this head, but here put a
close to the directions you desired.
        25. I am persuaded the most important of them have, in one form or another,
been long regarded by you, and made governing maxims of your life. I shall greatly
rejoice if the review of these, and the examination and trial of the rest, may be the
means of leading you into more intimate communion with God, and so of rendering
your life more pleasant and useful, and your eternity, whenever that is to commence,
more glorious. There is not a human creature upon earth whom I should not delight to
serve in these important interests; but I can faithfully assure you, that I am, with
particular respect,
                Dear Sir,
        Your very affectionate friend and servant.
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

       26. This, reader, with the alteration of a very few words, is the letter I wrote to a
worthy friend (now, I doubt not with, God) about sixteen years ago; and I can assuredly
say, that the experience of each of these years has confirmed me in these views, and
established me in the. persuasion, that one day thus spent is far preferable to whole
years of sensuality, and the neglect of religion. I chose to insert the letter as it is, because
I thought the freedom and particularity of the advice I had given in it would appear
most natural in its original form; and as I propose to enforce these counsels in the next
chapter, I shall conclude this with that meditation which I promised my friend as a
postscript, and which I could wish you to make so familiar to yourself as that you may
be able to recollect the substance of it whenever you compose. yourself to sleep.

             A serious view of death, proper to be taken as we lie dawn on our beds.

        “O my soul! look forward a little with serious-ness and attention, and learn
wisdom by the consideration of thy latter end, (Deut. 22:29) Another of thy mortal days
is now numbered and finished; and as I have put off my clothes, and laid myself upon
my bed for the repose of the night; so will the day of life quickly come to its period, so
must the body itself be put off and laid to its repose in a bed of dust. There let it rest; for
it will be no more regarded by me than the clothes which I have now laid aside. I have
another far more important concern to attend. Think, O my soul! when death comes,
thou art to enter upon the eternal world, and to be fixed either in heaven or in hell. All
the schemes and cares, the hopes and fears, the pleasures and sorrows of life, will come
to their period, and the world of spirits will open upon thee. And oh! how soon may it
open! Perhaps before the returning sun bring on the light of another day. Tomorrow’s
sun may not enlighten my eyes, but only shine round a senseless corpse which may lie
in the place of this animated body. At least the death of many in the flower of their age,
and many who were superior to me in capacity, piety, and the prospects of usefulness,
may loudly warn me not to depend on a long life, and engage me rather to wonder that
I am continued here so many years, than to be surprised if I am speedily removed
        “And now, O my soul! answer as in the sight of God, Art thou ready? Art thou
ready? Is there no sin unforsaken, and so unrepented of to fill me with anguish in my
departing moments, and to make me tremble on the brink of eternity? Dread to remain
under the guilt of it, and this moment renew thy most earnest applications to the mercy
of God, and the blood of a Redeemer, for deliverance from it.
        “But if the great account be already adjusted, if thou hast cordially repented of
thy numerous of-fences? if thou hast sincerely committed thyself, by faith, into the
hands of the blessed Jesus, and hast not renounced thy covenant with him, by turning
to the allowed practice of sin, then start not at the thought of a separation; it is not in the
power of death to hurt a soul devoted to God, and united to the great Redeemer. It may
take from me my worldly comforts, it may disconcert and break my schemes for service
on earth; but, O my soul, diviner entertainments and nobler services ‘wait thee beyond
the grave!’ For ever blessed be the name of God and the love of Jesus, for these quieting,
encouraging joyful views! I will now lay me down in peace, and sleep, (Psa. 4:8) free
from the fears of what shall be the issue of this night, whether life or death be appointed
for me. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit, (Luke, 23:46) for thou hast
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

redeemed me, O God of truth! (Psa. 31:5) and therefore I can cheerfully refer it to thy
choice, whether I shall wake in this world or another.”
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XX.


   1, 2. Christians fix their views too low, and indulge too indolent a disposition, which
   makes it more necessary to urge such a life as that under consideration.—3. It is
   therefore enforced, from its being apparently reasonable, considering ourselves as the
   creatures of God, and as redeemed by the blond of Christ.—4. From its evident tendency
   to conduce to our comfort in life.—5. From the influence it will have to promote our
   usefulness to others.—6. From its efficacy to make afflictions lighter.—7. From its happy
   aspect on death.—8. And on eternity.—9. Whereas not to desire improvement would
   argue a soul destitute of religion. A prayer suited to the state of a soul who longs to
   attain the life recommended above.

1. I have been assigning, in the preceding chapter, what, I fear, will seem to some of my
readers so hard a task, that they will want courage to attempt it; and indeed it is a life in
many respects so far above that of the generality of Christians, that I am not without
apprehensions that many, who deserve the name, may think the directions, after all the
precautions with which I have proposed them, are carried to an unnecessary degree of
nicety and strictness. But I am persuaded, much of the credit and comfort of
Christianity is lost, in consequence of its professors fixing their aims too low, and not
conceiving of their high and holy calling in so elevated and sublime a view as the
nature of religion would require, and the word of God would direct. I am fully
convinced, that the expressions of' “walking with God,” of “being in the fear of the Lord
all the day long.” (Prov. 23:17) and, above all that of “loving the Lord our God with all
our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength,” (Mark. 12:30) must require, if not all these
circumstances, yet the substance of all that I have been recommending, so far as we
have capacity, leisure, and opportunity; and I can not but think that many might
command more of the latter, and perhaps improve their capacities too, if they would
take a due care in the government of themselves; if they would give up vain and
unnecessary diversions, and certain indulgences, which only suit to delight the lower
part of our nature, and, to say the best of them, deprive us of pleasures much better
than themselves, if they do not plunge us into guilt. Many of these rules would appear
easily practicable, if men would learn to know the value of time, and particularly to
redeem it from unnecessary sleep, which wastes many golden hours of the day: hours
in which many of God’s servants are delighting themselves in him, and drinking in full
draughts of the water of life; while these their brethren are slumbering upon their beds,
and lost in vain dreams, as far below the common entertainments of a rational creature
as the pleasures of the sublimest devotion are above them.
        2. I know likewise, that the mind is very fickle and inconstant and that it is a hard
thing to preserve such a government and authority over our thoughts as would be very
desirable, and as the plan I have laid down will require. But so much of the honor of
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

God, and so much of our true happiness depends upon it, that I beg you will give me a
patient and attentive hearing while I am pleading with you, and that you will seriously
examine the arguments, and then judge, whether a care and conduct like that which I
have advised be not in itself reasonable, and whether it will not be highly conducive to
your comfort and usefulness in life, your peace in death, and the advancement and
increase of your eternal glory.
        3. Let conscience say, whether such a life as I have described above be not in
itself highly reasonable. Look over the substance of it again, anti bring it under a close
examination; for I am very apprehensive that some weak objections may rise against the
whole, which may in their consequence affect particulars, against which no reasonable
man would presume to make any objection at all. Recollect, O Christian! carry it with
you in your memory and your heart, while you are pursuing this review, that you are
the creature of God; that you are purchased with the blood of Jesus; and then say
whether these relations in which you stand do not demand all that application and
resolution which I would engage you to. Suppose all the counsels I have given you
reduced into practice; suppose every day begun and concluded with such devout
breathings after God, and such holy retirements for morning and evening converse with
him and with your own heart; suppose a daily care, in contriving how your time may
be managed, and in reflecting how it has been employed; suppose this regard to God,
this sense of his presence, and zeal for his glory, to run through your acts of worship,
your hours of business and recreation; suppose this attention to Providence, this guard
against temptation, this dependence upon divine influence, this government of the
thoughts in solitude, and of the discourse in company; nay, I will add farther, suppose
every particular direction given to be pursued, excepting when particular cases occur,
with respect to which you shall be able in conscience to say, “I wave it not from
indolence and carelessness, but because I think it will be just now more pleasing to God
to be doing something else,” which may often happen in human life, where general
rules are best concerted: suppose, I say, all this to be done, not for a day or a week, but
through the remainder of life, whether longer or shorter; and suppose this to be
reviewed at the close of life, in the full exercise of your rational faculties; will there be
reason to say in the reflection, “I have taken too much pains in religion; the Author of
my being did not deserve all this from me; less diligence, less fidelity, less zeal than this,
might have been an equivalent for the blood which was shed for my redemption. A part
of my heart, a part of my time, a part of my labors, might have sufficed for him, who
hath given me all my powers; for him who hath delivered me from that destruction
which would have made them my everlasting torment; for him who is raising me to the
regions of a blissful immortality.” Can you with any face say this? If you cannot, then
surely your conscience bears witness, that all I have recommended, under the
limitations above, is reasonable; that duty and gratitude require it; and consequently,
that, by every allowed failure in it, you bring guilt upon your own soul, you offend
God, and act unworthy of your Christian profession.
        4. I entreat you farther to consider whether such a conduct as I have now been
recommending, would not conduce much to your comfort and usefulness in life. Reflect
seriously what is true happiness! Does it consist in distance from God, or in nearness to
him? Surely you cannot be a Christian, surely you cannot be a rational man, if you
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

doubt whether communion with the great Father of our spirits be a pleasure and
felicity; and if it be, then surely they enjoy most of it who keep him most constantly in
view. You cannot but know, in your own conscience, that it is this which makes the
happiness of heaven; and therefore the more of it any man enjoys upon earth, the more
of heaven comes down into his soul. If you have made any trial of religion, though it be
but a few months or weeks since you first became acquainted with it, you must be some
judge, from your own experience, which have been the most pleasant days of your life.
Have they not been those in which you have acted most upon these principles? those in
which you have most steadily and resolutely carried them through every hour of time,
and every circumstance of life? The check which you must, in many instances, give to
your own inclinations, might seem disagreeable; but it would surely be overbalanced,
in a most happy manner, by the satisfaction you would find in a consciousness of self-
government; in having such a command of your thoughts, affections, and actions, as is much
more glorious than any authority over others can be.
        5. I would also entreat you to consider the influence which such a conduct as this
might have upon the happiness of others. And it is easy to be seen that it must be very
great; as you would find your heart always disposed to watch every opportunity of
doing good, and to seize it with eagerness and delight. It would engage you to make it
the study and business of your life, to order things in such a manner that the end of one
kind and useful action might be the beginning of another; in which you would go on as
naturally as the inferior animals do in those productions and actions by which mankind
are relieved or enriched; or as the earth bears her successive crops of different vegetable
supplies. And though mankind be, in this corrupt state, so unhappily inclined to imitate
evil examples rather than good, yet it may be expected, that while “your light shines
before men,” some, “seeing your good works,” will endeavor to transcribe them in their
own lives, and so to “glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) The charm of
such beautiful models would surely impress some, and incline them at least to attempt
an imitation; and every attempt would dispose to another. And thus, through the divine
goodness, you might be entitled to a share in the praise, and the reward, not only of the
good you had immediately done yourself; but likewise of that which you had engaged
others to do. And no eye, but that of the all-searching God, can see into what distant
times or places the blessed consequences may reach. In every instance in which these
consequences appear, it will put a generous and sublime joy into your heart which no
worldly prosperity could afford, and which would be the liveliest emblem of that high
delight which the blessed God feels in seeing and making his creatures happy.
        6. It is true indeed, that amidst all these pious and benevolent cares, afflictions
may come, and in some measure interrupt you in the midst of your projected schemes.
But surely these afflictions will be much lighter, when your heart is gladdened with the
peaceful and joyful reflections of your own mind, and with so honorable a testimony of
conscience before God and man. Delightful will it be to go back to past scenes in your
pleasing review, and to think that you have not only been sincerely humbling yourself
for those past offences which afflictions may bring to your remembrance; but that you
have given substantial proofs of the sincerity of that humiliation, by a real reformation
of what has been amiss, and by adding with strenuous and vigorous resolution on the
contrary principle. And while converse with God, and doing good to men, are made the
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

great business and pleasure of life, you will find a thousand opportunities of enjoyment,
even in the midst of these afflictions, which would render you so incapable of relishing
the pleasures of sense, that the very mention of them might, in those circumstances,
seem an insult and a reproach.
        7. At length death will come, that solemn and important hour, which has been
passed through by so many thousands who have in the main lived such a life, and by so
many millions who have neglected it. And let conscience say, if there was ever one of all
these millions who had any reason to rejoice in that neglect; or any one, among the most
strict and exemplary Christians, who then lamented that his heart and life had been too
zealously devoted to God. Let conscience say, whether they have wished to have a part
of that time, which they have thus employed, given back to them again, that they might
be more conformed to this world; that they might plunge themselves deeper into its
amusements, or pursue its honors, its possessions, or its pleasures, with greater
eagerness than they had done. If you were yourself dying, and a dear friend or child
stood near you, and this book and the preceding chapter should chance to come into
your thoughts, would you caution that friend or child against conducting himself by
such rules as I have advanced? The question may perhaps seem unnecessary, where the
answer is so plain and certain. Well, then, let me beseech you to learn how you should
live, by reflecting how you would die, and what course you would wish to look back
upon, when you are just quitting this world and entering upon another. Think
seriously; what if death should surprise you on a sudden, and you should be called into
eternity at an hour’s or a minute's warning, would you not wish that your last day
should have been thus begun; and the course of it, if it were a day of health and activity,
should have been thus managed? Wou1d you not wish that your Lord should find you
engaged in such thoughts and such pursuits? Would not the passage, the flight from
earth to heaven, be most easy, most pleasant, in this view and connection? And, on the
other hand, if death should make more gradual approaches. would not the
remembrance of such a pious, holy, humble, diligent, and useful life, make a dying bed
much softer and easier than it would otherwise be? You would not die, depending
upon these things. God forbid that you should! Sensible of your many imperfections,
you would, no doubt, desire to throw yourself at the feet of Christ, that you might
appear before God, “adorned with his righteousness, and washed from your sins in his
blood.” You would also, with your dying breath, ascribe to the riches of his grace every
good disposition you had found in your heart, and every worthy action you had been
enabled to perform. But would it not give you a delight, worthy of being purchased
with ten thousand worlds, to reflect that his “grace, bestowed on you, had not been in
vain,” (1 Cor. 15:10) but that you had, from a humble principle of grateful love, glorified
your heavenly Father on earth, and, in some degree. though not with the perfection you
could desire, “finished the work which he had given you to do:” (John 17:4) that you
had been living for many past years as on the borders of heaven, and endeavoring to
form your heart and life to the temper and manners of its inhabitants?
        8. And once more, let me entreat you to reflect on the view you will have of this
matter when you come into a world of glory, if (which I hope will be the happy case)
divine mercy conduct you thither. Will not your reception there be affected by your
care, or negligence, in this holy course? Will it appear an indifferent thing in the eye or
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

the blessed Jesus, who distributes the crowns, and allots the thrones there, whether you
have been among the most zealous, or the most indolent of his servants? Surely you
must wish to have “an entrance administered unto you abundantly into the kingdom of
your Lord and Savior,” (2 Pet. 1:11) and what can more certainly conduce to it, than to
he “always abounding in this work?” (1 Cor. 15:58) You cannot think so meanly of that
glorious state, as to imagine that you shall there look round about with a secret
disappointment, and say in your heart that you over-valued the inheritance you hare
received, and pursued it with too much earnestness. You will not surely complain that
it had too many of your thoughts and cares; but, on the contrary, you have the highest
reason to believe, that, if any thing were capable of exciting your indignation and your
grief there, it would be, that, amidst so many motives and so many advantages, you
exerted yourself no more in the prosecution of such a prize.
        9. But I will not enlarge on so clear a case, and therefore conclude the chapter
with reminding you, that to allow yourself deliberately to sit down satisfied with any
imperfect attainments in religion, and to look upon a more confirmed and improved
state of it as what you do not desire, nay, as what you sincerely resolve that you will not
pursue, is one of the most fatal signs we can well imagine that you are an entire
stranger to the first principles of it.

    A Prayer suited to the State of a Soul who desires to attain the Life above recommended.

        “Blessed God! I cannot contradict the force of these reasonings: O that I may feel
more than ever the lasting effects of them! Thou art the great fountain of being and of
happiness; and as from thee my being was derived, so from thee my happiness directly
flows; and the nearer I am to thee, the purer and more delicious is the stream. ‘With
thee is the fountain of life; in thy light may I see light!’ (Psa. 36:9) The great object of my
final hope is to dwell for ever with thee. Give me now some foretaste of that delight!
Give me, I beseech thee, to experience ‘the blessedness of that man who feareth the
Lord, and who delighteth greatly in his commandments,’ (Psa. 112:1) and so form my
heart by thy grace, that I may ‘be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.’ (Prov. 23:17)
        “To thee may my awakening thoughts be directed: and with the first ray of light
that visits my opening eyes, ‘lift up, O Lord, the light of thy countenance upon me!’
(Psa. 4:6) When my faculties are roused from that broken state in which they lay, while
buried, and, as it were, annihilated in sleep, may my first actions be consecrated to thee,
O God, who givest me light; who givest me, as it were, every morning a new life and a
new reason? Enable my heart to pour out itself before thee with a filial reverence,
freedom, and endearment! And may I hearken to God, as I desire that he should
hearken unto me! May thy word be read with attention and pleasure! May my soul be
delivered into the mold of it, and may I ‘hide it in my heart that I may not sin against
thee!’ (Psa. 119:111) Animated by the great motives there suggested, may I every
morning by renewing the dedication of myself to thee, through Jesus Christ thy beloved
Son; and be deriving from him new supplies of that blessed Spirit of thine, whose
influences are the life of my soul.
        “And being thus prepared, do thou, Lord, lead me forth by the hand to all the
duties and events of the day! In that calling, wherein thou hast been pleased to call me,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

may I abide with thee, (1 Cor. 7:20) not ‘being slothful in business,’ but ‘fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord!’ (Rom. 12:11) May I know the value of time, and always improve it to
the best advantage, in such duties as thou hast assigned me, how low soever they may
seem, or how painful soever they may be! To thy glory, O Lord, may the labors of life be
pursued; and to thy glory may the refreshments of it be sought! ‘Whether I eat, or drink,
or whatever I do,’ (1 Cor. 10:31) may that end still be kept in view, and may it be
attained! And may every refreshment, and release from business, prepare me to serve
thee with greater vigor and resolution!
        “May my eye be watchful to observe the descent of mercies from thee; and may a
grateful sense of thy hand in them add a savor and relish to all! And when afflictions
come, which in a world like this I would accustom myself to expect, may I remember
that they come from thee; and may that fully reconcile me to them, while I firmly
believe that the same love which gives us our daily bread, appoints us our daily crosses;
which I would learn to take up, that I may follow my dear Lord, (Mark 8:34) with a
temper like that which he manifested when ascending Calvary for my sake: saying, like
him, ‘The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?’ (John, 18:11) And
when I ‘enter into temptation,’ do thou, Lord, ‘deliver me from evil.’ (Matt. 6:13) Make
me sensible, I entreat thee, of my own weakness, that my heart may he raised to thee for
present communications of proportionable strength. When I am engaged in the society
of others, may it be my desire and my care that I may do and receive as much good as
possible; and may I continually answer the great purposes of life, by honoring thee; and
diffusing useful knowledge and happiness in the world. And when I am alone, may I
remember my ‘heavenly Father is with me;’ and may I enjoy the pleasure of thy
presence, and fed the animating power of it awakening my soul to an en earnest desire
to think and act as in thy sight.
        “Thus let my days be spent; and let them always be closed in thy fear, and under
a sense of thy gracious presence. Meet me, O Lord, in my evening retirements. May I
choose the most proper time for them; may I diligently attend to reading and prayer;
and when I review my conduct, may I do it with an impartial eye. Let not self-love
spread a false coloring over it; but may I judge myself; as one that expects to be judged
of the Lord, and is very solicitous he may be approved by thee, who ‘searchest all
hearts,’ and ‘canst not forget any of my works.’ (Amos, 8:7) ‘Let my prayer come before
thee as incense,’ add ‘let the lifting up of my hands be as the morning and the evening
sacrifice.’ (Psa. 141:2) May I resign my powers to sleep in sweet calmness and serenity;
conscious that I have lived to God in the day, and cheerfully persuaded that I am
‘accepted of thee in Christ Jesus my Lord,’ and humbly ‘hoping in thy mercy through
him,’ whether my days on earth be prolonged; or ‘the residue of them be cut off in the
midst.’ (Isa. 37:10) If death comes by a leisurely advance, may it find me thus employed;
and if I am called on a sudden to exchange worlds, may my last days and hours be
found to have been conducted by such maxims as these; that I may have a sweet and
easy passage from the services of time to the infinitely nobler services of an immortal
state. I ask it through him, who, while on earth, was the fairest pattern and example of
every virtue and grace, and who now lives and reigns with thee, ‘able to save unto the
uttermost:’ (Heb. 7:25) to him, having done all, I would fly, with humble
                                 OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

acknowledgment that I am an ‘unprofitable servant;’ (Luke, 17:10) ‘to him be glory for
ever and ever.’ Amen “
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XXI.


   1. Dangers continue, after the first difficulties (considered Chap. xvi.) are broken
   through.—2. Particular cautions—against a sluggish and indolent temper.—3. Against
   the excessive love of sensitive pleasure.—4. Leading to a neglect of business and
   needless expense.—5. Against the snares of evil company.—6. Against excessive hurry
   of worldly business.—7. Which is enforced by the fatal consequences these have had in
   many cases.—8. The chapter concludes with an exhortation to die to this world, and to
   live to another. And the young Convert's prayer for Divine protection against the
   dangers arising from these snares.

1. THIS representation I have been making of the pleasure and advantage of a life spent
in devotedness to God and communion with him, as I have described it above, will, I
hope, engage you, my dear reader, to form some purposes, and make some attempt to
obtain it. But from considering the nature, and observing the course of things, it appears
exceedingly evident, that, besides the general opposition which I formerly mentioned as
like to attend you in your first entrance on a religious life, you will find even that, after
you have resolutely broke through this, a variety of hindrances in any attempts or
exemplary piety, and in the prosecution of a remarkably strict and edifying course, will
present themselves daily in your path; and whereas you may, by a few resolute efforts,
baffle some of the former sorts of enemies, these will be perpetually renewing their
onsets, and a vigorous struggle must be continually maintained with them. Give me
leave now, therefore, to be particular in my cautions against some of the chief of them.
And here I would insist upon the difficulties which will arise from indolence and the
love of pleasure from vain company, and worldly cares. Each of these may prove
ensnaring to any, and especially to young persons, to whom I would now have some
particular regard.
        2. I entreat you, therefore, in the first place, that you will guard against a sluggish
and indolent temper. The love of ease insinuates itself into the heart under a variety of
plausible pretences, which are often allowed to pass, when temptations of a grosser
nature would not be admitted. The misspending a little time seems to wise and good
men a small matter; yet this sometimes runs them in into great inconveniencies. It often
leads them to break in upon the seasons regularly allotted to devotion, and to defer
business which might immediately be done, but being put off from day to day, is not
done at all, and thereby the services of life are at least diminished, and the rewards of
eternity diminished proportionably: not to insist upon it, that very frequently this lays
the soul open to farther temptations, by which it falls, in consequence of being found
unemployed. Be therefore suspicious of the first approaches of this kind. Remember
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

that the soul of man is an active being, and that it must find its pleasure in activity.
“Gird up,” therefore, “the loins of your mind.” (1 Pet. 1:13) Endeavor to keep yourself
always well employed. Be exact, if I may with humble reverence use the expression, in
your appointments with God. Meet him early in the morning; and say not with the
sluggard, when the proper hour of rising is come, “A little more sleep, a little more
slumber.” (Prov. 6:10) That time which prudence shall advise you, give to conversation
and to other recreations. But when that is elapsed, and no unforeseen and important
engagement prevents, rise and begone. Quit the company of your dearest friends, and
retire to your proper business, whether it be in the field, the shop, or the closet. For by
acting contrary to the secret dictates of your mind as to what it is just at the present
moment best to do, though it be but in the manner of spending half an hour, some
degree of guilt is contracted, and a habit is cherished, which may draw after it much
worse consequences. Consider, therefore, what duties are to be dispatched, and in what
seasons. Form your plan as prudently as you can, and pursue it resolutely; unless an
unexpected incident arises, which leads you to conclude that duty calls you another
way. Allowances for such unthought-of interruptions must be made; but if, in
consequence of this, you are obliged to omit any thing of importance which you
proposed behave done to-day, do it if possible to-morrow; and do not cut yourself out
new work, till the former plan be dispatched; unless you really judge it, not merely
more amusing, but more important. And always remember, that a servant of Christ
should see to it, that he determine on these occasions as in his Master's presence.
        3. Guard also against an excessive love of sensitive and animal pleasure, as that
which will be a great hindrance to you in that religious course which I have now been
urging. You cannot but know that Christ has told us, “that a man must deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,” (Luke 9:23) if he desire to become his disciple. Christ, the
Son of God, “the former and the heir of all things, pleased not himself,” (Rom. 15:3) but
submitted to want, to difficulties, and hardships, in the way of duty, and some of them
of the extremest kind and degree, for the glory of God and the salvation of men. In this
way we are to follow him; and as we know not how soon we may be called, even to
“resist unto blood, striving against sin,” (Heb. 12:4) it is certainly best to accustom
ourselves to that discipline which we may possibly be called out to exercise, even in
such rigorous heights. A soft and delicate life will give force to temptations, which
might easily be subdued by one who has habituated himself to “endure hardships as a
good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3) It also produces an attachment to this world,
and an unwillingness to leave it, which ill becomes those who are strangers and
pilgrims on earth, and who expect so soon to be called away to that better country
which they “profess to seek.” (Heb. 11:13,16) Add to this, that, what the world calls a
life of pleasure, is necessarily a life of expense too, and may perhaps lead you, as it has
many others, and especially many who have been setting out in the world, beyond the
limits which Providence has assigned; and so, after a course of indulgence, may
produce a proportionable want. And while in other cases it is true that pity should be
shown to the poor, this is a poverty that is justly contemptible, because it is the effect of
a man's own folly; and when your “want thus comes upon you as an armed man,”
(Prov. 6:11) you will not only find yourself striped of the capacity you might otherwise
have secured for performing those works of charity which are so ornamental to a
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

Christian profession, but probably will be under strong temptations to some low artifice
or mean compliance, quite beneath the Christian character and that of an upright man.
Many, who once made a high profession, after a series of such sorry and scandalous
shifts, have fallen into the infamy of the worst kind of bankrupts; I mean such as have
lavished away on themselves what was indeed the property of others, and so have
injured, and perhaps ruined, the industrious, to feed a foolish, luxurious, or
ostentatious humor, which, while indulged, was the shame of their own families, and
when it can be indulged no longer, is their torment. This will be a terrible reproach to
religion: such a reproach to it, that a good man would rather choose to live on bread
and water, or indeed to die for want of them, than to occasion it
        4. Guard, therefore, I beseech you, against any thing which might tend that way,
especially by diligence in business, and by prudence and frugality in expense, which, by
the Divine blessing, may have a very happy influence to make your affairs prosperous,
your health vigorous, and your mind easy. But this cannot be attained without keeping
a resolute watch over yourself, and strenuously refusing to comply with many
proposals which indolence and sensuality will offer in very plausible forms, and for
which it will plead, “that it asks but very little.” Take heed, lest in this respect you
imitate those fond parents, who, by indulging their children in every little thing they
have a mind to, encourage them, by insensible degrees, to grow still more encroaching
and imperious in their demands; as if they chose to be ruined with them, rather than to
check them in what seems a trifle. Remember, and consider that excellent remark,
sealed by the ruin of so many thousands: “He that despiseth small things, shall fall by
little and litt1e.”
        5. In this view, give me leave also seriously and tenderly to caution you, my dear
reader, against the snares of vain company. I speak not, as before, of that company
which is openly licentious and profane. I hope there is something now in your temper
and views, which would engage you to turn away from such with detestation and
horror. But I beseech you to consider, that those companions may be very dangerous,
who might at first give you but very little alarm: I mean those who, though not the
declared enemies of religion, and professed followers of vice and disorder, yet
nevertheless have no practical sense of divine things on their hearts, so far as can be
judged by their conversation and behavior. You must often of necessity be with such
persons; and Christianity not only allows, but requires, that you should, on all
expedient occasions of intercourse with them, treat them with civility and respect; but
choose not such for your most intimate friends, and do not contrive to spend most of
your leisure moments among them. For such converse has a sensible tendency to
alienate the soul from God, and to render it unfit for all spiritual communion with him.
To convince you of this, do but reflect on your own experience, when you have been for
many hours together among persons of such a character. Do you not find yourself more
indisposed for devotional exercises? Do you not find your heart, by insensible degrees,
more and more inclined to a conformity to this world, and to look with a secret disrelish
on those objects and employments to which reason directs as the noblest and best?
Observe the first symptoms, and guard against the snare in time: and for this purpose,
endeavor to form friendships founded in piety, and supported by it. “Be a companion
of them that fear God, and of them that keep his precepts.” (Psa. 119:63) You well know,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

that in the sight of God “they are the excellent of the earth;” let them therefore “be all
your delight.” (Psa. 16:3) And that the peculiar benefit of their friendship may not be
lost, endeavor to make the best of the hours you spend with them. The wisest of men
has observed that when “counsel in the heart of a man is like deep waters,” that is,
when it lies low and concealed, ‘a man of understanding will draw it out.’ (Prov. 20:5)
        5. Endeavor, therefore, on such occasions, so far as you can do it with decency
and convenience, give the conversation a religious turn. And when serious and useful
subjects are started in your presence, lay hold of them, and cultivate them; and for that
purpose “let the word of Christ dwell richly in you,” (Col. 3:1) and be continually made
“the man of your counsel.” (Psa. 119:24)
        6. If it be so, it will secure you not only from the snares of idleness and luxury,
but from the contagion of every bad example. And it will also engage you to guard
against those excessive hurries of worldly business, which would fill up all your time
and thoughts, and thereby “choke the good word” of God, and render it in a great
measure, if not quite, unfruitful. (Matt. 13:22) Young people are generally of an
enterprising disposition: having experienced comparatively little of the fatigue of
business, and of the disappointments and incumbrances of life, they easily swallow
them up and annihilate them in their imagination, and fancy that their spirit, their
application, and address, will be able to encounter and, surmount every obstacle or
hinderance. But the event proves it otherwise. Let me entreat you, therefore, to be
cautious how you plunge yourself into a greater variety of business than you are
capable of managing as you ought, that is, in consistency with the care of your soul and
the service of God, which certainly ought not on any pretence to be neglected. It is true
indeed, that a prudent regard to your worldly interest would require such a caution; as
it is obvious to every careful observer, that multitudes are undone by grasping at more
than they can conveniently manage. Hence it has frequently been seen, that, while they
have seemed resolved to be rich, they have “pierced themselves through with many
sorrows,” (1 Tim. 6:10) have ruined their own families, and drawn down many others
into desolation with them. Whereas, could they have been contented with moderate
employments and moderate gains, they might have prospered in their business, and
might, by sure degrees, under a divine blessing, have advanced to great and honorable
increase. But if there were no danger at all to be apprehended on this bend, if you were
as certain of becoming rich and great, as you are of perplexing and fatiguing yourself in
the attempt, consider, I beseech you, how precarious these enjoyments are. Consider
how often “a plentiful table becomes a snare, and that which should have been for a
man’s welfare, becomes a trap.” (Psa. 69:22) Forget not that short lesson, which is so
comprehensive of the highest wisdom: “One thing is needful.” (Luke 10:42) Be daily
thinking, while the gay and the great things of life are glittering before your eyes, how
soon death will come, and impoverish you at once: how soon it will strip you of all
possessions but those which a naked soul can carry along with it into eternity, when it
drops the body into the grave. ETERNITY! ETERNITY! ETERNITY! Carry the view of it
about with you; if it be possible, through every hour of waking life; and be fully
persuaded that you have no business, no interest in life, that is inconsistent with it; for
whatsoever would be injurious in view of eternity. is not your business, is not your
interest. You see indeed, that the generality of men act as if they thought the great thing
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

which God requires of them, in order to secure his favor, was to get as much of the
world as possible: at least as much us they can without any gross immorality, and
without risking the loss of all. Such persons may tell others, and perhaps flatter
themselves, that they only seek opportunities of greater usefulness. But in effect, if they
mean any thing more by this than a capacity of usefulness, which, when they have it,
they will not exert, they generally deceive themselves; and, one way or another, it is a
vain pretence. In most instances men seek the world—either that they may hoard up
riches for the mean and scandalous satisfaction of looking upon them while they are
living, and of thinking, that, when they are dead, it will be said of them that they have
left so many hundreds or thousands of pounds behind them; very probably, to ensnare
their children, or their heirs, (for the vanity is not peculiar to those who have children of
their own)—or else that they may lavish away their riches on their lusts, and drown
themselves in a gulf of sensuality in which, if reason be not lost, religion is soon
swallowed up, and with it all the noblest pleasures which can enter into the heart of
man. In this view, the generality of rich people appear to me objects of much greater
compassion than the poor: especially as, when both live (which is frequently the case)
without any fear of God before their eyes, the rich abuse the greater variety and
abundance of their favors, and therefore will probably feel, in that world of future ruin
which awaits impenitent sinners, a more exquisite sense of their misery.
         7. And let me observe to you, my dear reader, lest you should think yourself
secure from any such danger that we have great reason to apprehend there are many
now in a very wretched state, who once thought seriously of religion, when they were
first setting out, in lower circumstances of life; but they have since forsaken God for
Mammon and are now priding themselves in those golden chains, which, in all
probability. before it be long, will leave them to remain in those of darkness. When,
therefore, an attachment to the world may be followed with such fatal consequences,
“let not thine heart envy sinners,” (Prov. 23:17) and do not, out of a desire of gaining
what they have, be guilty of such folly as to expose yourself to this double danger or
failing in the attempt, or of being undone by the success of it. Contract your desires;
endeavor to be easy and content with a little; and if Providence call you out to act in a
larger sphere, submit to it in obedience to Providence, but number it among the trials of
life, which it will require a larger proportion of grace to bear well. For be assured, that,
as affairs and interests multiply, cares and duties will certainly increase, and probably
disappointments and sorrows will increase in an equal proportion.
         8. On the whole, learn, by divine grace, to die to the present world: to look upon
it as a low state of being, which God never intended for the final and complete
happiness, or the supreme care of any one of his children: a world, where something is
indeed to be enjoyed, but chiefly from himself; where a great deal is to be borne with
patience and resignation; and where some important duties are to be performed, and a
course of discipline to be passed through, by which you are to be formed for a better
state, to which, as a Christian, you are near, and to which God will call you, perhaps on
a sudden, but undoubtedly, if you hold on your way, in the fittest time and the most
convenient manner. Refer, therefore, all this to him. Let your hopes and fears, your
expectations and desires, with regard to this world, be kept as low as possible; and all
your thoughts be united, as much as may be, in this one centre: what is it that God
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

would, in present have you to be: and what is that method of conduct by which you
may most effectually please and glorify him.

    The Young Convert's Prayer for Divine Protection against the Danger of these Snares.

        “Blessed God! in the midst of ten thousand snares and dangers, which surround
me from without and from within, permit me to look up unto thee with my humble
entreaty, that thou wouldst ‘deliver me from them that rise up against me,’ (Psa. 59:1)
and that ‘thine eyes may be upon me for good.’ (Jer. 24:6) When sloth and indolence are
ready to seize me, awaken me from that idle dream, with lively and affectionate views
of that invisible and eternal world to which I am tending! Remind me of what infinite
importance it is, that I diligently improve those transient moments which thou hast
allotted me as the time of my preparation for it.
        “When sinners entice me, may I not consent! (Prov. 1:10) May holy converse with
God give me a disrelish for the converse of those who are strangers to thee, and who
would separate my soul from thee! May I ‘honor them that fear the Lord,’ (Psa. 15:4)
and walking with such wise and holy men, may I find I am daily advancing in wisdom
and holiness! (Prov. 13:20) Quicken me, O Lord! by their means; that by me thou mayest
also quicken others! Make me the happy instrument of enkindling and animating the
flame of divine love in their breasts; and may it catch from heart to heart, and grow
every moment in its progress!
        “Guard me, O Lord! from the love of sensual pleasure! May I seriously
remember, ‘that to be carnally-minded is death!’ (Rom. 8:6) May it please thee,
therefore, to purify and refine my soul by the influence of thine Holy Spirit, that I may
always shun unlawful gratifications more solicitously than others pursue them; and
that those indulgences of animal nature which thou hast allowed, and which the
constitution of things renders necessary, may be soberly and moderately used! May I
still remember the superior dignity of my spiritual and intelligent nature, and may the
pleasures of the man and the Christian be sought as my noblest happiness! May my
soul rise on the wings of holy contemplation to the regions of invisible glory; and may I
be endeavoring to form myself, under the influences of divine grace, for the
entertainments of those angelic spirits that live in thy presence in a happy incapacity of
those gross delights by which spirits dwelling in flesh are so often ensnared, and in
which they so often lose the memory of their high original, and of those noble hopes
which alone are proportionable to it!
        “Give me, O Lord! to know the station in which thou hast fixed me, and steadily
to pursue the duties of it! But deliver me from those excessive cares of this world, which
would so engross my time and my thoughts, that ‘the one thing needful’ should be
forgotten! May my desires after worldly possessions be moderated, by considering their
uncertain and unsatisfying nature; and, while others are laying up treasures on earth,
may I be ‘rich towards God!’ (Luke 12:21) May I never be too busy to attend to those
great affairs which lie between thee and my soul; never be so engrossed with the
concerns of time, as to neglect the interests of eternity! May I pass through earth with
my heart and hopes set upon heaven, and feel the attractive influence stronger and
stronger as I approach still nearer and nearer to that desirable centre; till the happy
                                 OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

moment come, when every earthly object shall disappear from my view, and the
shining glories of the heavenly world shall fill my improved and strengthened sight,
which shall then be cheered with that which would now overwhelm me! Amen.”
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XXII.


   1. Declension in religion, and relapses into sin, with their sorrowful consequences, are in
   the general too probable.—2. The ease of declension and langour in religion described,
   negatively.—3. And positively.—4. As discovering itself by a failure in the duties of the
   closet.—5. By a neglect of social worship.—6. By want of love to our fellow Christians.—
   7. By an undue attachment to sensual pleasures or secular cares.—8. By prejudices
   against some important principles in religion.—9,10. A symptom peculiarly sad and
   dangerous.—11. Directions for recovery.—12. Immediately to be pursued. A prayer for
   one under spiritual decays.

1. IF I am so happy as to prevail upon you in the exhortations and cautions I have given,
you will probably go on with pleasure and comfort in religion, and your path will
generally be “like the morning light, which shineth more and more until the perfect
day.” (Prov. 4: 18) Yet I dare not flatter myself with an expectation of such success as
shall carry you above those varieties of temper, conduct, and state, which have been
more or less the complaint of the best of men. Much do I fear, that, how warmly soever
your heart may now be impressed with the representation I have been making, though
the great objects of your faith and hope continue unchangeable, your temper towards
them will be changed. Much do I fear that you will feel your mind languish and tire in
the good ways of God; nay, that you may be prevailed upon to take some step out of
them, and may thus fall a prey to some of those temptations which you now look upon
with a holy scorn. The probable consequence of this will be, that God will hide his face
from you; that he will stretch forth his afflicting hand against you, and that you still will
see your sorrowful moments, how cheerfully soever you now “be rejoicing in the Lord,
and joying in the God of your salvation.” (Hab. 3: 18) I hope, therefore, it may be of
some service, if this too probable event should happen, to consider these cases a little
more particularly; and I heartily pray, that God would make what I shall say
concerning them the means of restoring, comforting, and strengthening your soul, if he
ever suffers you in any degree to deviate from him.
         2. We will first consider the case of Spiritual Declensions and Languor in
religion. And here I desire, that, before I proceed any farther, you would observe that I
do not comprehend under this head every abatement of that fervor which a young
convert may find when he first becomes experimentally acquainted with divine things.
Our natures are so framed, that the novelty of objects strikes them in something of a
peculiar manner: not to urge how much more easily our passions are impressed in the
earlier years of life, than when we are more advanced in the journey of it. This, perhaps,
is not sufficiently considered. Too great a stress is commonly laid on the flow of
affections; and for want or this, a Christian, who is ripened in grace, and greatly
advanced in his preparation for glory, may sometimes be led to lament imaginary
rather than real decays, and to say, without any just foundation, “O that it were with
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

me as in months past!” (Job 29:2) Therefore, you can hardly be too frequently told, that
religion consists chiefly “in the ‘resolution of the will for God,’ and in a constant care to
avoid whatever we are persuaded he would disapprove, to despatch the work he has
assigned us in life, and to promote his glory in the happiness of mankind.” To this we
are chiefly to attend, looking in all to the simplicity and purity of those motives from
which we act, which we know are chiefly regarded by that God who searches the heart;
humbling ourselves before him at the same time under a sense of our many
imperfections, and flying to the blood of Christ and the grace of the Gospel.
        3. Having given this precaution, I will now a little more particularly describe the
case, which I call the state of a Christian who is declining in religion; so far as it does not
fall in with those which I shall consider in the following chapters. And I must observe
that it chiefly consists “in a forgetfulness of divine objects, and a remissness in those
various duties to which we stand engaged by that solemn surrender which we have
made of ourselves to the service of God.” There will be a variety of symptoms,
according to the different circumstances and relations in which the Christian is placed;
but some will be of a more universal kind. It will be peculiarly proper to touch on these;
and so much the rather, as these declensions are often unobserved, like the gray hairs
which were upon Ephraim, when he knew it not. (Hos. 7:9)
        4. Should you, my reader, fall into this state, it will probably first discover itself
by a failure in the duties of the closet. Not that I suppose they will at first, or certainly
conclude that they will at all, be wholly omitted, but they will be run over in a cold and
formal manner. Sloth, or some of those other snares which I cautioned you against in
the former chapter, will so far prevail upon you, that though perhaps you know and
recollect that the proper season of retirement is come, you will sometimes indulge
yourself upon your bed in the morning, sometimes in conversation or business in the
evening, so as not to have convenient time for it. Or perhaps, when you come into your
closet at that season, some favorite book you are desirous to read, some correspondence
that you choose to carry on, or some other amusement, will present itself, and plead to
be despatched first. This will probably take up more time than you imagined; and then
secret prayer will be hurried over, and perhaps reading the Scriptures quite neglected.
You will plead, perhaps, that it is but for once; but the same allowance will be made a
second and a third time; and it will grow more easy and familiar to you each time than
it was the last. And thus God will be mocked, and your own soul will be defrauded of
its spiritual meals, if I may be allowed the expression; the word of God will be slighted,
and self-examination quite disused; and secret prayer itself wilt grow a burden rather
than a delight; a trifling ceremony, rather than a devout homage, fit for the acceptance
of “our Father who is in heaven.”
        5. If immediate and resolute measures be not taken for your recovery from these
declensions, they will spread farther, and reach the acts of social worship. You will feel
the effects in your family and in public ordinances. And if you do not feel them, the
symptoms will be so much the worse. Wandering thoughts will, as it were, eat out the
very heart of these duties. It is not, I believe, the privilege of the most eminent
Christians to be entirely free from them; but probably in these circumstances you will
find but few intervals of strict attention, or of any thing which wears the appearance of
inward devotion. And when these heartless duties are concluded, there will scarce be a
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

reflection made, how little God hath been enjoyed in them, how little he hath been
honored by them. Perhaps the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, being so admirably
adapted to fix the attention of the soul, and to excite its warmest exercise of holy
affections, may be the last ordinance in which these declensions will be felt. And yet,
who can say that the sacred table is a privileged place? Having been unnecessarily
straitened in your preparations, you will attend with less fixedness and enlargement of
heart than usual. And perhaps a dissatisfaction in the review, when there has been a
remarkable alienation or insensibility of mind, may occasion a disposition to forsake
your place and your duty there. And when your spiritual enemies have once gained
this point upon you, it is probable you will fall by swifter degrees than ever, and your
resistance to their attempts will grow weaker and weaker.
         6. When your love to God our Father and to the Lord Jesus Christ fails, your
fervor of Christian affection to your brethren in Christ will proportionably decline; and
your concern for usefulness in life abate, especially where any thing is to be done for
spiritual edification. You will find some one excuse or another for the neglect of
religious discourse, perhaps not only among neighbors and Christian friends, when
very convenient opportunities offer; but even with regard to those who are members of
your own families, and to those who, if you are fixed in the superior relations of life, are
committed to your care.
         7. With this remissness, an attachment either to sensual pleasures or to worldly
business will increase. For the soul must have something to employ it, and something to
delight itself in; and as it turns to the one or the other of these, temptations of one sort
or another will present themselves. In some instances, perhaps the strictest bonds of
temperance, and the regular appointments or life, may be broken in upon, through a
fondness for company, and the entertainments which often attend it. In other instances,
the interests of life appearing greater than they did before, and taking up more of the
mind, contrary interests of other persons may throw you into disquietude, or plunge
you in debate and contention, in which it is extremely difficult to preserve either the
serenity or the innocence of the soul. And perhaps, if ministers and other Christian
friends observe this, and endeavor in a plain and faithful way to reduce you from your
wandering, a false delicacy of mind, often contracted in such a state as this, will render
these attempts extremely disagreeable. The ulcer of the soul, if I may be allowed the
expression, will not bear being touched when it most needs it; and one of the most
generous and self-denying instances of Christian friendship shall be turned into an
occasion of coldness and distaste, yea, perhaps of enmity.
         8. And possibly, to sum up all, this disordered state of mind may lead you into
some prejudices against those very principles which might be most effectual for your
recovery; and your great enemy may succeed so far in his attempts against you, as to
persuade you that you have lost nothing in religion, when you have almost lost all. He
may very probably lead you to conclude that your former devotional frames were mere
fits of enthusiasm, and that the holy regularity of your walk before God was an
unnecessary strictness and scrupulosity. Nay, you may think it a great improvement in
understanding, that you have learnt from some new masters, that, if a man treat his
fellow creatures with humanity and good nature, judging and reviling only those who
would disturb others by the narrowness of their notions, (for these are generally
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

exempted from other objects of the most universal and disinterested benevolence so
often boasted of) he must necessarily be in a very good state, though he pretend not to
converse much with God, provided that he think respectfully of him, and do not
provoke him by any gross immoralities.
        9. I mention this in the last stage of religious declension, because I apprehend
that to be its proper place; and I fear it will be found, by experience, to stand upon the
very confines of that gross apostacy into deliberate and presumptuous sin, which wilt
claim our consideration under the next head. And because, too, it is that symptom
which most effectually tends to prevent the success, and even the use, of any proper
remedies, in consequence of a fond and fatal apprehension that they are needless. It is,
if I may borrow the simile, like those fits of lethargic drowsiness which often precede
apoplexies and death.
        10. It is by no means my design at this time to reckon up, much less to consider at
large, those dangerous principles which are now ready to possess the mind, and to lay
the foundation of a false and treacherous peace. Indeed they are in different instances
various, and sometimes run into opposite extremes. But if God awaken you to read
your Bible with attention, and give you to feel the spirit with which it is written, almost
every page will flash conviction upon the mind, and spread a light to scatter and
disperse these shades of darkness.
        11. What I chiefly intend in this address, is to engage you, if possible, as soon as
you perceive the first symptoms of these declensions, to be upon your guard, and to
endeavor, as speedily as possible, to recover yourself from them. And I would remind
you, that the remedy must begin where the first cause or complaint prevailed, I mean,
in the closet, Take some time for recollection, and ask your own con-science, seriously,
how matters stand between the blessed God and your soul? Whether they are as they
once were, and as you could wish them to be, if you saw your life just drawing to a
period, and were to pass immediately into the eternal state? One serious thought of
eternity shames a thousand vain excuses, with which, in the forgetfulness of it, we are
ready to delude our own souls. And when you feel that secret misgiving of heart which
will naturally arise on this occasion, do not endeavor to palliate the matter, and to find
out slight and artful coverings for what you cannot forbear secretly condemning, but
honestly fall under the conviction, and be humbled for it. Pour out your heart before
God, and seek the renewed influences of his Spirit and grace.. Return with more
exactness to secret devotion, and to self-examination. Read the Scripture with yet
greater diligence, and especially the more devotional and spiritual parts of it. Labor to
ground it in your heart, and to feel what you have reason to believe the sacred penmen
felt when they wrote, so far as circumstances may agree. Open your soul, with all
simplicity; to every lesson which the word of God would teach you; and guard against
those things which you perceive to alienate your mind from inward religion, though
there be nothing criminal in the things themselves. They may perhaps in the general be
lawful; to some possibly they may be expedient; but if they produce such an effect as
was mentioned above, it is certain they are not convenient for you in these
circumstances, above all, seek the converse of those Christians whose progress in
religion seems most remarkable, and who adorn their profession in the most amiable
manner. Labor to obtain their temper and sentiments, and lay open your case and your
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

heart to them, with all the freedom which prudence will permit. Employ yourself, at
seasons of leisure, in reading practical and devotional books, in which the mind and
heart of the pious author is transfused into the work, and in which you can, as it were,
taste the genuine spirit of Christianity. And to conclude, take the first opportunity that
presents, of making an approach to the table of the Lord, and spare neither time nor
pains in the most serious preparation for it. There renew your covenant with God; put
your soul anew into the hands of Christ, and endeavor to view the wonders of his dying
love, in such a manner as may rekindle the languishing flame, and quicken you to more
vigorous resolution than ever, “to live unto him who died for you.” (2 Cor. 5:15) And
watch over your own heart, that the good impressions you then felt may continue. Rest
not, till you have obtained as confirmed a state of religion as you ever knew. Rest not,
till yon have made a greater progress than before; for it is only by a zeal to go forward,
that you can be secure from the danger of going backward, and revolting more and
        12. I only add, that it is necessary to take these precautions as soon as possible, or
you will probably find a much swifter progress than you are aware in the downhill
road; and you may possibly be left of God, to fall into some gross and aggravated sin, so
as to fill your conscience with an agony and horror which the pain of “broken bones”
(Psa. 51:8) can but imperfectly express.

                          A Prayer for one under Spiritual Decays.

        “Eternal and unchangeable Jehovah! thy perfections and glories are, like thy
being, immutable. Jesus thy Son is ‘the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.’ (Heb. 13:8)
The eternal world, to which I am hastening, is always equally important, and presses
upon the attentive mind for a more fixed and solemn regard, in proportion to the
degree in which it comes nearer and nearer. But, alas! my views, and my affections, and
my best resolutions, are continually varying, like this poor body, which goes through
daily and hourly alterations in its state and circumstances. Whence, O Lord! whence
this sad change which I now experience in the frame and temper of my mind toward
thee? Whence this alienation of my soul from thee? Why can I not come to thee with all
the endearments of filial lover as I once could? Why is thy service so remissly attended,
if attended at all? And why are the exercises of it, which were once my greatest
pleasure, become a bur den to me? Where, O God! is the blessedness I once spake of,
(Gal. 4:15) when my joy in thee as my Heavenly Father was so conspicuous that
strangers might have observed it, and when my heart did so overflow with love to thee,
and with zeal for thy service, that it was a matter of self-denial to me, to limit and
restrain the genuine expressions of those strong emotions of my soul, even where
prudence and duty required it?
        “Alas, Lord! whither am I fallen? Thine eye sees me still; but, oh! how unlike
what it once saw me! Cold and insensible as I am, I must blush on the reflection. Thou
‘seest me in secret,’ (Matt. 6:6) and seest me, perhaps often amusing myself with trifles,
in those seasons which I used solemnly to devote to thine immediate service. Thou seest
me coming into thy presence as by constraint; and when I am before thee, so straitened
in my spirit, that I hardly know what to say to thee, though thou art the God with
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

whom I have to do; and though the keeping up a humble and dutiful correspondence
with thee is, beyond all comparison, the most important business in my daily life, And
even when I am speaking to thee, with how much coldness and formality is it! It is
perhaps the work of imagination, the labor of the lips; but where are those ardent
designs, those intense breathings after God, which I once felt? Where is that pleasing
repose in thee, which I once was conscious of, as being near my divine rest, as being
happy in that nearness, and resolving that, if possible, I would no more be removed
from it? But, oh! how far am I now removed? When these short devotions, if they may
be called devotions, are over, in what long intervals do I forget thee, and appear so little
animated with thy love, so little devoted to thy service, that a stranger might converse
with me a considerable time, without knowing that I had ever formed any acquaintance
with thee, without discovering that I had so much as known or heard any thing of God?
Thou callest me to thine house, O Lord! on thine own day: but how heartless are my
services there! I present thee no more than my body: my thoughts and affections are
engrossed with other objects, while I ‘draw near thee with my mouth, and honor thee
with my lips.’ (Isa. 29:13) Thou callest me to thy table; but my heart is so frozen, that it
hardly melts even at the foot of the cross, hardly feels any efficacy in the blood of Jesus.
O wretched creature that I am! Unworthy of being called thine! Unworthy of a place
among thy children, or of the meanest situation in thy family: rather worthy to be case
out, to be forsaken, yea, to be utterly destroyed!
        “Is this, Lord, the service which I once promised, and which thou hast so many
thousand reasons to expect? Are these the returns I am making for thy daily
providential care, for the sacrifice of thy Son, for the communications of thy Spirit, for
the pardon of my numberless aggravated sins, for the hopes, the undeserved and so
often forfeited hopes of eternal glory! Lord, I am ashamed to stand or to kneel before
thee. But pity me, I beseech thee, and help me; for I am a pitiable object indeed; my soul
cleaveth unto the dust, and lays itself as in the dust before thee; but, O quicken me
according to thy word! (Psa. 119:25) Let me trifle no longer, for I am upon the brink of a
precipice! I am thinking of my ways. O give me grace to turn my feet unto thy
testimonies, to make haste without any farther delay, that I may keep thy
commandments! (Psa. 119: 59,60) Search me, O Lord! and try me. (Psa. 139:23) Go to the
first root of this distemper, which spreads itself over my soul, and recover me from it!
Represent sin unto me, O Lord! I beseech thee, that I may see it with abhorrence! and
represent the Lord Jesus Christ to me in such a light that I may look upon him and
mourn, (Zec. 12:10) that I may look upon him and love! May I awaken from this stupid
lethargy into which I am sinking, and may Christ give me more abundant degrees of
spiritual life and activity than I have ever yet received! and may I be so quickened and
animated by him, that I may more than recover the ground I have lost, and may make a
more speedy and exemplary progress than in my best days I have ever yet done! Send
down upon me, O Lord! in a more rich and abundant effusion, thy good Spirit. May he
dwell in me as a temple which he has consecrated to himself! (1 Cor. 3:16) and while all
the service is directed and governed by him, may holy and acceptable sacrifices be
continually offered! (Rom. 12:1) May the incense be constant, and may it be fragrant!
May the sacred fire burn and blaze perpetually! (Lev. 6:13) And may none of its vessels
ever be profaned, by being employed to an unholy or forbidden use! Amen.”
                                     OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                     CHAPTER XXIII.


   1. Unthought of relapses may happen.—2. And bring the soul into a miserable case.—3.
   Yet the case is not desperate.—4. The backslider urged immediately to return, by deep
   humiliation before God for so aggravated an offence.—5. By renewed regards to the
   divine mercy in Christ.—6. By an open profession of repentance, where the crime hath
   given public offence.—7. Falls to be reviewed for future caution.—8. The chapter
   concludes with a prayer for the use of one who hath fallen into gross sins, after religious
   resolutions and engagements.

1. THE declensions which I have described in the foregoing chapter, must be
acknowledged worthy of deep lamentations; but happy will you be, my dear reader, if
you never know, by experience, a circumstance yet more melancholy than this. Perhaps,
when you consider the view of things which you now have, you imagine that no
consideration can ever bribe you, in any single instance, to act contrary to the present
dictates or suggestions of your conscience, or of the Spirit of God by which it has been
enlightened and directed. No: you think it would be better for you to die. And you
think rightly: but Peter thought and said so too; “Though I should die with thee, yet
will I not deny thee,” (Matt. 26.35) and yet, after all. he fell; and therefore, “be not high-
minded, but fear.” (Rom. 11:20) It is not impossible but you may fall into that very sin of
which you imagine you are least in danger, or into that against which you have most
solemnly resolved and of which you have already most bitterly repented. You may
relapse into it again and again. But, O! if you do, nay, if you should deliberately and
presumptuously fall but once, how deep will it pierce your heart! How dear will you
pay for all the pleasure with which the temptation has been accompanied! How will this
separate between God and you! What a desolation, what a dreadful desolation will it
spread over your soul! It is grievous to think of it. Perhaps in such a state you may feel
more and agony and distress in your own conscience, when you come seriously to
reflect, than you ever felt when you were first awakened and reclaimed: because the sin
will be attended with some very high aggravations, beyond those of your unregenerate
state. I well know the person that said, “the agonies of a sinner, in the first pangs of his
repentance, are not to be mentioned on the same day with those of the ‘backslider in
heart,’ when he comes to be filled with his own way.” (Prov. 14:14)
        2. Indeed, it is enough to wound one’s heart to think how yours will be
wounded; how all your comforts, all your evidences, all your hopes, will be clouded;
what thick darkness will spread itself on every side; so that neither sun, nor moon, nor
stars will appear in your heaven. Your spiritual consolations will be gone; and your
temporal enjoyments will also be rendered tasteless and insipid. And if afflictions be
sent, as they probably may, in order to reclaim you, a consciousness of guilt will
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

sharpen and envenom the dart. Then will the enemy of your soul, with all his art and
power, rise up against you, encouraged by your fall, and laboring to trample you down
in utter, hopeless ruin. He will persuade you that you are already undone beyond
recovery. He will suggest that it signifies nothing to attempt it any more; for that every
effort, every amendment, every act of repentance, will but make your case so much the
worse, and plunge you lower and lower into hell.
        3. Thus will he endeavor by terrors to keep you from that sure remedy which yet
remains. But yield not to him. Your case will indeed be sad; and if it be now your case,
it is deplorably so; and to rest in it, would be still much worse. Your heart would be
hardened yet more and more; and nothing could be expected but sudden and
aggravated destruction. Yet, blessed be God, it is not quite hopeless. Your “wounds are
corrupted, because of your foolishness,” (Psa. 38:5) but the gangrene is not incurable.
“There is a balm in Gilead, there is a physician there.” (Jer. 8:22) Do not therefore render
your condition hopeless, by now saying, “There is no hope,” (Jer. 2:25) and by drawing
a fatal argument from a false supposition, “for going after the idols you have loved.”
Let me address you in the language of God to his backsliding people, when they were
ready to apprehend that to be their case, and to draw such a conclusion from it: “only
return unto me, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 3:13) Cry for renewed grace; and in the strength of
it labor to return. Cry with David, under the like guilt, “I have gone astray like a lost
sheep; seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments;” (Psa. 119:176) and that
remembrance of them is, I hope, a token for good. But if thou wilt return at all, do it
immediately. Take not one step more in that fatal path, to which thou bast turned aside.
Think not to add one more sin to the account, and then to repent; as if it would be but
the same thing on the whole. The second error may be worse than the first; it may make
way for another and another, and draw on a terrible train of consequences, beyond all
you can now imagine. Make haste, therefore, and do not delay. “Escape, and fly as for
thy life,” (Gen. 19:17) before “the dart strike through thy liver.” (Prov. 7:23) “Give not
sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids,” (Prov. 6:4) lie not down upon thy bed
under unpardoned guilt, lest evil overtake thee, lest the sword of divine justice should
smite thee, and, whilst thou purposest to return tomorrow, thou shouldst this night go
and take possession of hell.
        4. Return immediately, and, permit me to add, return solemnly. Some very pious
and excellent divines have expressed themselves upon this head, in a manner which
seems liable to dangerous abuse: when they urge men after a fall, “not to stay to survey
the ground, nor consider how they came to be thrown down, but immediately to get up
and renew the race.” In slighter cases the advice is good; but when conscience has
suffered such violent outrage, by the commission of known, willful, and deliberate sin,
(a case which one would hope should but seldom happen to those who have once
sincerely entered on a religious course) I can by no means think that either reason or
Scripture encourages such a method. Especially would it be improper, if the action itself
had been of so heinous a nature, that even to have fallen into it on the most sudden
surprise of temptation, must have greatly ashamed, and terrified, and distressed the
soul. Such an affair is dreadfully solemn, and should be treated accordingly. If this has
been the sad case with you, my then unhappy reader, I would pity you, and mourn
over you; and would beseech you, as you value your peace, your recovery, the health
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

and the very life of your soul, that you would not loiter away an hour. Retire
immediately for serious reflection. Break through other engagements and employments
unless they be such as you cannot in conscience delay for a few hours, which can
seldom happen in the circumstance I now suppose. Set yourself to it, therefore, as in the
presence of God, and hear at large, patiently and humbly, what conscience has to say,
though it chide and reproach severely. Yea, earnestly pray that God would speak to you
by conscience, and make you more thoroughly to know and feel “what an evil and
bitter thing it is, that you have thus forsaken him.” (Jer. 2:19) Think of all the
aggravating circumstances attending your offence; and especially think of those which
arise from abused mercy and goodness which arise, not only from your solemn vows
and engagements to God, but from the views you have had of a Redeemer’s love, sealed
even in blood. And are these the returns? Was it not enough that Christ should have
been thus injured by his enemies? Must he be “wounded in the house of his friends”
too? (Zech. 13: 6) Were “you delivered to work such abominations as these?” (Jer. 7:10)
Did the blessed Jesus groan and die for you, that you might sin with boldness and
freedom, that you might extract, as it were, the very spirit and essence of sin, and offend
God to a height of ingratitude and baseness, which would otherwise have been, in the
nature of things, impossible? O think, how justly God might “cast you out from his
presence!” How justly he might number you among the most signal instances of his
vengeance! And think how "your heart would endure or your hands be strong,”if he
should " deal thus with you!” (Ezek. 22:14) Alas! all your former experiences would
enhance your sense of the ruin and misery that must be felt in an eternal banishment
from the divine presence and favor.
        5. Indulge such reflections as these. Stand the humbling sight of your sins in such
a view as this. The more odious and the more painful it appears, the greater prospect
there will be of your benefit by attending to it. But the matter is not to rest here. All
these reflections are intended, not to grieve, but to cure; and to grieve no more than
may promote the cure. You are indeed to look upon sin; but you are also, in such
circumstances, if ever, to look upon Christ, to look upon him whom you have now
pierced deeper than before, and to mourn for him with sincerity and tenderness. (Zech.
12:10) The God whom you have injured and affronted, whose laws you have broken,
and whose justice you have, as it were, challenged by this foolish, wretched apostasy, is
nevertheless “a most merciful God.” (Deut. 4:21) You cannot be so ready to return to
him, as he is to receive you. Even now does he, as it were, solicit a reconciliation, by
those tender impressions which lie is making upon your heart. But remember how he
wilt be reconciled. It is in the very same way in which you made your first approach to
him, in the name and for the sake of his dear Son. Come therefore in an humble
dependence upon him. Renew your application to Jesus, that his blood may, as it were,
be sprinkled upon your soul, that your soul may thereby be purified, and your guilt
removed. This very sin of yours, which the blessed God foresaw, increased the weight
of your Redeemers sufferings: it was concerned in shedding his blood. Humbly go, and
place your wounds, as it were, under the droppings of that precious balm, by which
alone they can be healed. That compassionate Savior will delight to restore you, when
you lie as an humble suppliant at his feet, and will graciously take part with you in that
peace and pleasure which he gives. Through him renew your covenant with God, that
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

broken covenant, the breach of which divine justice might teach you to know “by
terrible things in righteousness:” (Psa. 65: 5) but mercy allows of an accommodation.
Let the consciousness and remembrance of that breach engage you to enter into
covenant anew, tinder a deeper sense than ever of your own weakness, and a more
cordial dependence on divine grace for your security, than you have ever yet
entertained. I know you will be ashamed to present yourself among the children of God
in his sanctuary, and especially at his table, under a consciousness of so much guilt; but
break through that shame, if Providence open you the way. You would be humbled
before your offended Father; but surely there is no place where you are more likely to
be humbled, than when you see yourself in his house, and no ordinance administered
there can lay you lower than that in which “Christ is evidently set forth as crucified
before your eyes.” (Gal. 3:1) Sinners are the only persons who have business there. The
best of men come to that sacred table as sinners. As such make your approach to it; yea,
as the greatest of sinners, as one who needs the blood of Jesus as much as any creature
upon earth.
        6. And let me remind you of one thing more. If your fall has been of such a
nature as to give any scandal to others, be not at all concerned to save appearances, and
to moderate those mortifications which deep humiliation before them would occasion.
The depth and pain of that mortification is indeed an excellent medicine, which God
has in his wise goodness appointed for you in such circumstances as these. In such a
case, confess your fault with the greatest frankness; aggravate it to the utmost; entreat
pardon and prayer from those whom you have offended. Then, and never till then, will
you be in the way to peace; not by palliating a fault not by so making vain excuses, not
by objecting to the manner in which others may have treated you; as if the least excess
or rigor in a faithful admonition were a crime equal to some great immorality that
occasioned it. This can only proceed from the madness of pride and self-love; it is the
sensibility of a wound, which is hardened, swelled, and inflamed; and it must be
reduced, and cooled, and suppled, before it can possibly be cured. To be censured and
condemned by men, will be but a little grievance to a sour thoroughly humbled and
broken under a sense of having incurred the condemning sentence of God. Such a one
will rather desire to glorify God, by submitting to deserved blame; and will fear
deceiving others into a more favorable opinion of himself than he inwardly knows that
lie deserves. These are the sentiments which God gives to the sincere penitent in such a
case; and by this means he restores him to that credit and regard among others, which
he does not know how to seek; but which, nevertheless, for the sake both of his comfort
and usefulness, God wills that he should have, and which it is, humanly speaking,
impossible for him to recover any other way. But there is something so honorable in the
frank acknowledgment of a fault, and in deep humiliation for it, that all who see it must
needs approve it. They pity an offender who is brought to such a disposition, and
endeavor to comfort him with returning expressions, not only of their love, but of their
esteem too.
        7. Excuse this digression, which may suit some cases; and which would suit
many more, if a regular discipline were to be exercised in churches; for, on such a
supposition, the Lord's Supper could not be approached, after visible and scandalous
falls, without solemn confession of the offence, and declarations of repentance. On the
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

other hand, there may be instances of sad apostacy, where the crime, though highly
aggravated before God, may not fall under human notice. In this case, remember that
your business is with Him to whose piercing eye every thing appears in its just light
before him, therefore, prostrate your soul, and seek a solemn reconciliation with him,
confirmed by the memorials of his dying Son; And when this is done, imagine not, that,
because you have received the tokens of pardon, the guilt of your apostacy is to be
forgotten at once. Bear it still in your memory for future caution: lament it before God,
especially in the frequent returns of secret devotion; and view with humiliation the
scars of those wounds which your own folly occasioned, even when by divine grace
they are thoroughly healed. For God establishes his covenant, not to remove the sense
of every past abomination, but “that thou mayest remember thy ways, and be
confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, even when I
am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord.” (Ezek. 16:63)
        8. And now, upon the whole, if you desire to attain such a temper, and to return
to such steps as these, then immediately fall down before God, and pour out your heart
in his presence, in language like this.

 A Prayer for one who has fallen into gross Sin, after religious Resolutions and Engagements.

        “O most Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God! when I seriously reflect on thy spotless
purity, and on the strict and impartial methods of thy steady administration, together
with that almighty power of thine, which is able to carry every thought of thine heart
into immediate and full execution, I may justly appear before thee this day with shame
and terror, in confusion and consternation of spirit. This day, O my God! this dark,
mournful day, would I take occasion to look back to that sad source of our guilt and our
misery, the apostacy of our common parents, and say with thine offending servant
David, ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.’ (Psa.
51:5) This day would I lament all the fatal consequences of such a descent, with regard
to myself. And, oh how many have they been! The remembrance of the sins of my
unconverted state, and the failings and infirmities of my after life, may justly confound
me! How much more such a scene as now lies before my conscience, and before thine
all-seeing eye! For thou, O Lord! ‘knowest my foolishness, and my sins are not hid from
thee.’ (Psa. 69:5) Thou tellest all my wanderings from thy statutes, (Psa. 56.8) thou seest
and thou recordest every instance of my disobedience to thee, and of my rebellion
against thee. Thou seest them in every aggravated circumstance which I can discern,
and many more which I have never observed or reflected upon. How then shall I
appear in thy presence, or lift up my face to thee! (Ezra 9:6) 1 am full of confusion, (Job
10:15) and fed a secret regret in the thought of applying to thee; but; ‘O Lord, to whom
shall I go but unto thee?’ (John 6:68) Unto thee, on whom depends my life or my death;
unto thee, who alone canst take away the burden of guilt which now presses me down
to the dust; who alone canst restore to my soul that rest and peace which I have lost,
and which I deserve for ever to lose!
        “Behold me, O Lord God! falling down at thy feet! Behold me pleading guilty in
thy presence, and surrendering myself to that justice which I cannot escape! I have not
one word to offer in my own vindication, in my own excuse. Words, far from being able
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

to clear up my innocence, can never sufficiently describe the enormity and demerit of
my sin. Thou, O Lord! and thou only, knowest to the full, how heinous and how
aggravated it is. Thine infinite understanding alone can fathom the infinite depth of its
malignity. I am, on many accounts, most unable to do it. I cannot conceive the glory of
thy sacred Majesty, whose authority I have despised, nor the number and variety of
those mercies which I have sinned against. I cannot conceive the value of the blood of
thy dear Son, which I have ungratefully trampled under my feet; nor the dignity of that
blessed Spirit of thine, whose agency I have, as far as I could, been endeavoring to
oppose, and whose work I have been, as with all my might, laboring to undo; and to
tear up, as it were, that plantation of his grace which I should rather have been willing
to have guarded with my life, and watered with my blood. O the baseness and madness
of my conduct! That I should thus, as it were, rend open the wounds of my soul, of
which I had died long ere this, had not thine own hand applied a remedy, had not thine
only Son bled to prepare it! that I should violate the covenant I had made with thee by
sacrifice, (Psa. 50:5) by the memorials of such a sacrifice too, even of Jesus, my Lord,
whereby I am become guilty of his body and blood. (1 Cor. 11:27) That I should bring
suck dishonor upon religion too, by so unsuitable a walk, and perhaps open the mouths
of its greatest enemies to insult it upon my account, and prejudice some against it to
their everlasting destruction!
        “I wonder, O Lord God! that I am here to own all this. I wonder that thou hast
not long ago appeared as a swift witness against me, (Mal. 3:5) that thou hast not
discharged the thunderbolts of thy flaming wrath against me, and crushed me into hell;
making me there a terror to all about me, as well as to myself, by a vengeance and ruin,
to be distinguished even there, where all are miserable, and all hopeless.
        “O God! thy patience is marvellous! But how much more marvellous is thy grace,
which, after all this, invites me to thee. While I am here giving judgment against myself
that I deserve to die, to die for ever, thou art sending me the words of everlasting life,
and ‘calling me, as a backsliding child, to return unto thee.’ (Jer. 3:22) Behold, therefore,
O Lord! invited by thy word, and encouraged by thy grace, I come; and great as my
transgressions are, I humbly beseech thee freely to pardon them; be-cause I know, that,
though ‘my sins have reached unto heaven,’ (Rev. 18:5) and are ‘lifted up even unto the
skies,’ (Jer. 51:9) ‘thy mercy,’ O Lord! is above the heavens.’ (Psa. 108:4) Extend that
mercy to me, O heavenly Father! and display, in this illustrious instance, the riches of
thy grace and the prevalency of thy Son's blood! For surely, if such crimson sins as mine
may be made ‘white as snow and as wool,’ (Isa. 50:12) and if such a revolter as I am be
brought to eternal glory, earth must, so far as it is known, be filled with wonder and
heaven with praise; and the greatest sinner may cheerfully apply for pardon, if I, ‘the
chief of sinners,’ find it. And, oh! that, when I have lain mourning, and as it were
bleeding at thy feet, as long as thou thinkest proper, thou wouldst at length ‘heal this
soul of mine’ which has sinned against thee, (Psa. 41:4) and ‘give me beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness!’ (Isa.
61:3) O that thou wouldst at length ‘restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and make
me to hear songs of gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice!’ (Psa.
51:8,12) Then, when a sense of thy forgiving love is shed abroad upon my heart, and it
is cheered with the voice of pardon, I will proclaim thy grace to others; ‘I will teach
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee:’ (Psa. 51:13) those that
have been backsliding from thee shall be encouraged to seek thee, by my happy
experience, which I will gladly proclaim for thy glory, though it be to my own shame
and confusion of face. And may this ‘joy of the Lord be my strength!’ (Neh. 8:10) so that
in it I may serve thee henceforward with a vigor and zeal far beyond what I have
hitherto known! This I would ask with all humble submission to thy will, for! presume
not to insist upon it. If thou shouldst see fit to make me a warning to others, by
appointing that I should walk all my days in darkness, and at last die under a cloud,
‘thy will be done!’ But, O God! extend mercy, for thy Son’s sake, to this sinful soul at
last, and give me some place, though it were at the feet of all thy other servants, in the
regions of glory! O bring me at length, though it should be through the gloomiest valley
that any one ever passed, into that blessed world, where I shall depart from God no
more where I shall wound my own conscience, and dishonor thy holy name no more!
Then shall my tongue be loosed, how long soever it might here be bound under the
confusion of guilt; and immortal praises shall be paid to that victorious blood which has
redeemed such an infamous slave of sin as I must acknowledge myself to be, and
brought me, from returns into bondage and repeated pollution, to share the dignity and
holiness of those who are ‘kings and priests unto God.’ (Rev. 1:6) Amen.”
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                    CHAPTER XXIV.


   1. The phrase scriptural.—2. It signifies the withdrawing the tokens of the divine
   favor.—3 chiefly as to spiritual considerations.—4. This may become the case of any
   Christian.—5. and will be found a very sorrowful one.—6. The following directions,
   therefore, are given to those who suppose it to be their own: To inquire whether it be
   indeed a case of spiritual distress, or whether a disconsolate frame may not proceed
   from indisposition of body,—7. or difficulties as to worldly circumstances.—8, 9. If it be
   found to be indeed such as the title of the chapter proposes, be advised—to consider it as
   a merciful dispensation of God, to awaken and bestir the soul, and excite to a strict
   examination of conscience, and reformation of what has been amiss.—10. To be humble
   and patient while the trial continues.—11. To go on steadily in the way of duty.—12. To
   renew a believing application to the blood of Jesus. An humble supplication for one
   under these mournful exercises of mind, when they are found to proceed from the
   spiritual cause supposed.

1. THERE is a case which often occurs in the Christian life, which they who accustom
themselves much to the exercise of devotion have been used to call the “hiding of God's
face.” It is a phrase borrowed from the word of God, which I hope may shelter it from
contempt at the first hearing. It will be my business in this chapter to state it as plainly
as I can, and then to give some advice as to your own conduct when you fall into it, as it
is very probable you may before you have finished your journey through this
        2. The meaning of it may partly be understood by the opposite phrase of God’s
“causing his face to shine upon a person, or lifting up upon him the light of his
countenance.” This seems to carry in it an allusion to the pleasant and delightful
appearance which the face of a friend has, and especially if in a superior relation of life,
when he converses with those whom be loves and delights in. Thus Job, when speaking
of the regard paid him by his attendants, says, “If I smiled upon them, they believed it
not, and the light of my countenance they cast not down,” (Job 29:24) that is, they were
careful, in such agreeable circumstances, to do nothing to displease me, or (as we speak)
to cloud my brow. And David, when expressing his desire of the manifestation of God's
favor to him, says, “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me;” and, as
the effect of it, declares, “thou hast put gladness into my heart, more than if corn and
wine increased.” (Psa. 4:6,7) Nor is it impossible, that, in this phrase, as used by David,
there may be some allusion to the bright shining forth of the Shekinah, that is, the lustre
which dwelt in the cloud as the visible sign of the divine presence with Israel, which
God was pleased peculiarly to manifest upon some public occasions, as a token of his
favor find acceptance. On the other hand, therefore, for God “to hide his face,” must
imply his withholding the tokens of his favor and must be esteemed a mark of his
displeasure. Thus Isaiah uses it, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59:2) And
again, “Thou hast hid thy face from us,” as not regarding the calamities we suffer, “and
hast consumed us because of our iniquities.” (Isa. 64: 7) So likewise for God “to hide his
face from our sins?” (Psa. 51:9) signifies to overlook them, and to take no farther notice
of them. The same idea is, at other times, expressed by “God’s hiding his eyes,” (Isa.
1:15) from persons of a character disagreeable to him, when they come to address him
with their petitions, not vouchsafing, as it were, to look toward them. This is plainly the
scriptural sense of the word; and agreeably to this, it is generally used by Christians in
our day, and every thing which seems a token of divine displeasure toward them is
expressed by it.
        3. It is farther to be observed here, that the things which they judge to be
manifestations of divine favor toward them, or complacency in them, are not only, nor
chiefly of a temporal nature, or such as merely relate to the blessings of this animal and
perishing life. David, though the promises of the law had a continual reference to such,
yet was taught to look farther, and describes them as preferable to, and therefore
plainly distinct from “the blessings of the corn-floor or the wine-press.” (Psa. 4:7) And if
you whom I am now addressing do not know them to be so, it is plain you are quite
ignorant of the subject we are inquiring into, and indeed have yet to learn the first
lessons of true religion. All that David says, of “beholding the beauty of the Lord,” (Psa.
27:4) or being “satisfied as with marrow and fatness, when he remembered him upon
his bed,” (Psa. 63:5,6) as well as “with the goodness of his house, even of his holy
temple,” (Psa. 65:4) is to be taken in the same sense, and can need very little explication
to the truly experienced soul. But those who have known the light of God's
countenance, and the shinings of his face, will, in proportion to the degree of that
knowledge, be able to form some notion of the hiding of his face, or the withdrawing of
the tokens he has given his people of his presence and favor, which sometimes greatly
imbitters prosperity; as, where the contrary is found, it sweetens affliction, and often
swallows up the sense of it.
        4. And give me leave to remind you, my Christian friend, (for under that
character I now address my reader) that to be thus deprived of the sense of God’s love,
and of the tokens of his favor, may soon be the case with you, though you may now
have the pleasure to see the candle of the Lord shining upon you, or though it may even
seem to he sunshine and high noon in your soul. You may lose your lively views of the
divine perfections and glory, in the contemplation of which you now find that inward
satisfaction. You may think of the divine wisdom and power, of the divine mercy and
fidelity, as well as of his righteousness and holiness, and feel little inward complacency
of soul in the view: it may be, with respect to any lively impressions, as if it were the
contemplation merely of a common object. It may seem to you as if you had lost all idea
of those important words, though the view has sometimes swallowed up your whole
soul in transports of astonishment, admiration, and love. You may lose your delightful
sense of the divine favor. It may be matter of great and sad doubt with you, whether
you do indeed belong to God; and all the work of his blessed Spirit may be so veiled
and shaded in the soul, that the peculiar characters by which the hand of that sacred
Agent might be distinguished, shall be in a great measure lost; and you may he ready to
imagine you have only deluded yourself in all the former hopes you have entertained.
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

In consequence of this, those ordinances in which you now rejoice, may grow very
uncomfortable to you, even when you do indeed desire communion with God in them.
You may hear the most delightful evangelical truths opened, you may hear the
privileges of God's children most affectionately represented, and not be aware that you
have any part or lot in the matter; and from that very coldness and insensibility may be
drawing a farther argument that you have nothing to do with them. And then “your
heart” may “meditate terror,” (Isa. 33:18) and under the distress that overwhelms you,
your dearest enjoyments may he reflected upon as adding to the weight of it, and
making it more sensible, white you consider that you bad once such a taste for these
things, and have now lost it all. So that perhaps it may seem to you, that they who
never felt any thing at all of religious impressions, are happier than you, or at least are
less miserable. You may, perhaps, in these melancholy hours, even doubt whether you
have ever prayed at all, and whether all that you called your enjoyment of God, was not
some false delight, excited by the great enemy of souls, to make you apprehend that
your state was good, that so you might continue his more secure prey.
        5. Such as this may be your case for a considerable time; and ordinances maybe
attended in vain, and the presence of God may be in vain sought in them. You may
pour out your soul in private, and then come to public worship, and find little
satisfaction in either, but be forced to take up the Psalmist's complaint, “My God, I cry
in the day-time, but thou hearest not; and in the night- season, and am not silent;” (Psa.
22:2) or that of Job, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I
cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he
hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him.” (Job, 23:8,9) So that all which
looked like religion in your mind, shall seem as it were to be melted into grief or chilled
into fear, or crushed into a deep sense of your own unworthiness; in consequence of
which, you shall dare not so much as lift up your eyes before God, and be almost
ashamed to take your place in a worshipping assembly among any that you think his
servants. I have known this to be the case of some excellent Christians, whose
improvements in religion have been distinguished, and whom God hath honored above
many of their brethen in what he hath done for them, and by them. Give me leave,
therefore, having thus described it, to offer you some plain advice with regard to it; and
let not that be imputed to enthusiastic fancy which proceeds from an intimate and
frequent view of facts on the one hand; and from a sincere affectionate desire on the
other, to relieve the tender, pious heart, in so desolate a state. At least I am persuaded
the attempt will not be overlooked or disapproved by “the great Shepherd of the
sheep,” (Heb. 13:20) who has charged us to “comfort the feeble-minded.” (I Thes. 5:14)
        6. And here I would first advise you most carefully to inquire whether your
present distress does indeed arise from causes which are truly spiritual, or whether it
may not rather have its foundation in some disorder of the body, or in the
circumstances of life in which you are providentially placed, which may break your
spirits and deject your mind. The influence of the inferior part of our nature on the
nobler, the immortal spirit, while we continue in this embodied state, is so evident, that
no attentive person can, in the general, fail to observe it: and yet there are cases in
which it seems not to be sufficiently considered; and perhaps your own may be one of
them. The state of the blood is often such as necessarily to suggest gloomy ideas, even
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

in dreams, and to indispose the soul for taking pleasure in any thing; and when it is so,
why should it be imagined to proceed from any peculiar divine displeasure, if the soul
does not find its usual delight in religion? Or why should God be thought to have
departed from us, because he suffers natural causes to produce natural effects, without
interposing, by miracle, to break the connection? When this is the case, the help of the
physician is to be sought, rather than that of the divine; or at least, by all means,
together with it; and medicines, diet, exercise and air, may in a few weeks effect what
the strongest reasonings, the most pathetic exhortations or consolations might for many
months have attempted in vain.
        7. In other instances, the dejection and feebleness of the mind may arise from
something uncomfortable in our worldly circumstances. These may cloud as well as
distract the thoughts, and imbittter the temper, and thus render us in a great degree
unfit for religious services and pleasures; and when it is so, the remedy is to be sought
in submission to Divine Providence, in abstracting our affections as far as possible from
the present world, in a prudent care to ease ourselves of the burden so far as we can, by
moderating unnecessary expenses, and by diligent application to business, in humble
dependence on the divine blessing; in the mean time, endeavoring, by faith, to look up
to him who sometimes suffers his children to be brought into such difficulties, that he
may endear himself more sensibly to them by the method he shall take for their relief.
        8. On the principles here laid down, it may perhaps appear, on inquiry, that the
distress complained of may have a foundation very different from what was at first
supposed. But where the health is sound, and the circumstances easy; when the animal
spirits are disposed for gayety and entertainment, while all taste for religious pleasure
is in a manner gone; when the soul is seized with a kind of lethargic insensibility, or
what I had almost called a paralytic weakness with respect to every religious exercise,
even though there should not be that deep terrifying distress, or pungent amazement,
which I before re-presented as the effect of melancholy, nor that anxiety about the
accommodations of life which strait circumstances naturally produce; I would in that
case vary my advice, and urge you, with all possible attention and impartiality, to
search into the cause which has brought upon you that great evil under which you
justly mourn. And probably, in the general, the cause is sin—some secret sin, which has
not been discovered or observed by the eye of the world; for enormities that draw on
them the observation and censure of others, will probably fall under the case mentioned
in the former chapter, as they must be instances of known and deliberate guilt. Now the
eye of God hath seen these evils which have escaped the notice of your fellow-creatures;
and in consequence of this care to conceal them from others, while you could not but
know they were open to him, God has seen himself in a peculiar manner affronted and
injured, I had almost said insulted by them; and hence his righteous displeasure. Oh! let
that never be forgotten, which is so plainly said, so commonly known, so familiar to
almost every religious ear, yet too little felt by any of our hearts, “Your iniquities have
separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he
will not hear.” (Isa. 59:1,2) And this is, on the whole, a merciful dispensation of God,
though it may seem severe, regard it not, therefore, merely as your calamity, but as
intended to awaken you, that you may not content yourself, even with lying in tears of
humiliation before the Lord, but, like Joshua, rise and exert yourself vigorously, to “put
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

away from you that accursed thing,” whatever it be. Let this be your immediate and
earnest care, that your pride may be humbled, that your watchfulness may be
maintained, that your affections to the world may be deadened, and that, on the whole,
your fitness for heaven may in every respect be increased. These are the designs of your
heavenly Father, and let it be your great concern to cooperate with them.
        9. Receive it therefore, on the whole, as the most important advice that can be
given you, immediately to enter on a strict examination of your conscience. Attend to its
gentlest whispers. If a suspicion arises in your mind that any thing has not been right,
trace that suspicion, search into every secret folding of your heart: improve to the
purposes of a fuller discovery the advice of your friends, the reproaches of your
enemies; recollect for what your heart hath smitten you at the table of the Lord, for
what it would smite you if you were upon a dying bed, and within this hour to enter on
eternity. When you have made any discovery, note it down; and go on in your search,
till you can say these are the remaining incorruptions of my heart, these are the sins and
follies of my life; this have I neglected; this have I done amiss. And when the account is
as complete as you can make it, set yourself in the strength of a God, to a serious
reformation; or rather begin the reformation of every thing that seems amiss, as soon as
ever you discover it; “return to the Almighty, and thou shalt be built up; put iniquity far
from thy tabernacle, and then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift
up thy face unto God. Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall bear thee;
thou shalt pay thy vows unto him, and his light shall shine upon thy ways.” (Job
        10. In the meantime, be waiting for God with the deepest humility, and submit
yourself to the discipline of your heavenly Father, acknowledging his justice, and
hoping in his mercy; even when your conscience is least severe in its remonstrances,
and discovers nothing more than the common infirmities of God’s people; yet still bow
yourself down before him, and own that so many are the evils of your best days, so
many the imperfections of your best services, that by them you have deserved all, and
more than all that you suffer: deserved, not only that your sun should be clouded, but
that it should go down, and arise no more, but leave your soul in a state of everlasting
darkness. And while the shade continues, be not impatient. Fret not yourself in any
wise, but rather, with a holy calmness and gentleness of soul, “wait on the Lord.” (Psa.
37:8,34) Be willing to stay his time, willing to bear his frown, in humble hope that he
will at length “return and have compassion on you.” (Jer. 12:15) He has not utterly
forgotten to be gracious, nor resolved that “he will be favorable no more.” (Psa. 77:7,9)
“For the Lord will not cast off for ever; but though he cause grief, yet will he have
compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.” (Lam. 31:32) It is comparatively
but “for a small moment that he hides his face from you;” but you may humbly hope,
that with great mercies he will gather you, and that “with everlasting kindness he will
have mercy on you.” (Isa. 54:7,8) These suitable words are not mine, but his; and they
wear this, as in the very front of them, “That a soul under the hidings of God’s face may
at last be one whom be will gather, and to whom he will extend everlasting favor.”
        11. But while the darkness continues, “go on in the way of your duty.” Continue
the use of means and ordinances: read and meditate: pray, yes, and sing the praises of
God too, though it may be with a heavy heart. Follow the “footsteps of his flock,” (Cant.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

1:8) you may perhaps meet the Shepherd of souls in doing it. Place yourself at least in
his way. It is possible you may by this means get a kind look from him; and one look,
one turn of thought, which may happen in a moment, may, as it were, create a heaven
in your soul at once. Go to the table of the Lord. If you cannot rejoice, go and mourn
there. Go and “mourn for that Savior whom,” by your sins, “you have pierced:” (Zech.
12:10) go and lament the breaches of that covenant which you have there so often
confirmed. Christ may perhaps make himself known unto you “in the breaking of the
bread,” (Luke 24:35) and you may find, to your surprise, that he hath been near you,
when you imagined he was at the greatest distance from you; near you, when you
thought you were cast out from his presence. Seek your comfort in such enjoyments as
these, and not in the vain amusements of this world, and in the pleasures of sense. I
shall never forget that affectionate expression, which I am well assured broke out from
an eminently pious heart, then almost ready to break under its sorrows of this kind:
“Lord, if I may not enjoy thee, let me enjoy nothing else; but go down mourning after
thee to the grave!” I wondered not to hear, that, almost as soon as the sentiment had
been breathed out before God in prayer, the burden was taken off, and “the joy of God's
salvation restored.”
       12. I shall add but one advice more, and that is, that “you renew your application
to the blood of Jesus, through whom the reconciliation between God and your soul has
been accomplished.” It is he that is our peace, and by his blood it is that “we are made
nigh:” (Eph. 2:13,14) it is in him, as the beloved of his soul, that God declares he is well-
pleased; (Matt. 3:17) and it is in him that “ye are made accepted, to the glory of his
grace.” (Eph. 1:6) Go therefore, O Christian, and apply by faith to a crucified Savior: go,
and apply to him, as to a merciful high-priest, “and pour out thy complaint before him,
and show before him thy trouble:” (Psa. 142:2) Lay open the distress and anguish of thy
soul to him, who once knew what it was to say, (O astonishing, that he should ever
have said it!) “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) Look up for
pity and relief to him, who himself suffered, being not only tempted, but, with regard to
sensible manifestations, deserted, that he might thus know how to pity those that are in
such a melancholy case, and be ready, as well as able, “to succor them.” (Heb. 2:18) “He
is Immanuel, God with us,” (Matt. 1:23) and it is only in and through him that his
Father shines forth upon us with the mildest beams of mercy and of love. Let it be
therefore your immediate care to renew your acquaintance with him. Review the
records of his life and death; and when you do so, surely you will feel a secret
sweetness diffusing itself over your soul. You will be brought into a calm, gentle, silent
frame, in which faith and love will operate powerfully, and God may probably cause
“the still small voice” of his comforting Spirit to be heard, (1 Kin. 19:12) till your soul
burst out into a song of praise, and you are “made glad according to the days in which
you have been afflicted.” (Psa. 90:15) In the mean time, such language as the following
supplication speaks, may be suitable.

              An Humble Supplication for one under the Hidings of God’s Face.

       “Blessed God! ‘with thee is the fountain of life’ and of happiness. (Psa. 36:9) I
adore thy name that I have ever tasted of thy streams; that I have ever had the peculiar
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

pleasure arising from the light of thy countenance, and the shedding abroad of thy love
in my soul. But alas! these delightful seasons are now to me no more; and the
remembrance of them engages me to ‘pour out my soul within me.’ (Psa. 42:40 I would
come, as I have formerly done, and call thee, with the same endearment, ‘my Father and
my God;’ but alas! I know not how to do it. Guilt and fears arise, and forbid the
delightful language. I seek thee, O Lord! but I seek in vain. I would pray, but my lips
are sealed up. I would read thy word, but all the promises of it are veiled from mine
eyes. I frequent those ordinances which have been formerly most nourishing and
comfortable to my soul, but, alas! they are only the shadows of ordinances: the
substance is gone: the animating spirit is fled, and leaves them now, at best, but the
image of what I once knew them.
        “But, Lord, hast ‘thou cast off forever, and wilt thou be favorable no more?’ (Psa.
77:7) Hast thou in awful judgment determined that my soul must be left to a perpetual
winter, the sad emblem of eternal darkness? Indeed, I deserve it should be so. I
acknowledge, O Lord! I deserve to be cast away from thy presence with disdain, to be
sunk lower than I am, much lower: I deserve to have ‘the shadow of death upon my
eyelids,’ (Job 16:16) and even to be surrounded with the thick gloom of the infernal
prison. But hast thou not raised multitudes, who have ‘deserved, like me, to be
delivered into chains of darkness,’ (2 Pet. 2:4) to the vision of thy glory above, where no
cloud can ever interpose between thee and their rejoicing spirits? ‘Have mercy upon
me, O Lord! have mercy upon me!’ (Psa. 123:3) And though my iniquities have now
justly ‘caused thee to hide thy face from me,’ (Isa. 59:2) yet be thou rather pleased,
agreeably to the gracious language of thy word, ‘to hide thy face from my sins, and to
blot out all my iniquities.’ (Psa. 51:9) Cheer my heart with the tokens or thy returning
favor, and ‘say unto my soul, I am thy salvation!’ (Psa. 35:3)
        “Remember, O Lord God! remember that dreadful day, in which Jesus thy dear
Son endured what my sins have deserved! Remember that agony, in which he poured
out his soul before thee and said ‘My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt.
27:46) Did he not, O Lord! endure all this, that humble penitents might, through him, be
brought near unto thee, and might behold thee with pleasure, as their Father and their
God? Thus do I desire to come unto thee. Blessed Savior, art thou not appointed ‘to give
unto them that mourn in Zion, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness?’ (Isa. 61:3) O wash away my tears, anoint
my head with ‘the oil of gladness, and clothe me with the garments of salvation.’ (Isa.
        “’O that I knew where I might find thee’ (Job 23:3) O that I knew what it is that
hath engaged thee to depart from me! I am ‘searching and trying my ways.’ (Lam. 3:40)
O that thou wouldst ‘search me, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts;’
and if ‘there be any wicked way in me,’ discover it, and ‘lead me in the way
everlasting;’ (Psa 189:23,24) in that way in which I may find rest and peace ‘for my
soul,’ (Jer. 6:16) and feel the discoveries of thy love in Christ!
        “O God! ‘who didst command the light to shine out of darkness,’ (2 Cor. 4:6)
speak but the word, and light shall dart into my soul at once! ‘Open thou my lips, and
my mouth shall show forth thy praise.’ (Psa. 51:15) shall burst out into a cheerful song,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

which shall display, before those whom my present dejections may have discouraged,
the pleasures and supports of religion.
        “Yet, Lord, on the whole, I submit to thy will. If it is thus that my faith must be
exercised, by walking in darkness for days, and months, and years to tome, how long
soever they may seem, how long so ever they may be, I submit. Still will I adore thee as
the ‘God of Israel,’ and the Savior, though ‘thou art a God that hidest thyself.’ (Isa.
45:15) Still will I ‘trust in the name of the Lord, and stay myself upon my God,’ (Isa.
1:10) ‘trusting in thee, though thou slay me,’ (Job 13:15) and waiting for thee, more than
they that watch for the morning, yea, more than they that watch for the morning. (Psa.
130:6) Peradventure ‘in the evening time it may be light’ (Zech. 14:7) I know thou hast
sometimes manifested thy compassion to thy dying servants, and given them, in the
lowest ebb of their natural spirits, a full tide of divine glory; thus turning ‘darkness into
light before them.’ (Isa. 42:15) So may it please thee to gild ‘the Valley of the Shadow of
Death’ with the light of thy presence, when I am passing it, and to stretch forth ‘thy rod
and thy staff to comfort me,’ (Psa. 23:4) that my tremblings may cease, and the gloom
may echo with songs of praise! But if it be thy sovereign pleasure, that distress and
darkness should still continue to the last motion of my pulse, and the last gasp of my
breath, O let it cease with the parting struggle, and bring me to that light which is sown
for the righteous, and to that gladness which is reserved ‘for the upright in heart;’ (Psa.
97:11) to the unclouded regions of everlasting splendor and joy, where the full
anointings of thy Spirit shall be poured out upon all thy people, and thou wilt no more
‘hide thy face from any of them!’ (Ezek. 39:29)
        “This, Lord, is ‘thy salvation for which I am waiting,’ (Gen. 49:18) and whilst I
feel the desires of my soul drawn out after it, I will never despair of obtaining it.
Continue and increase those desires, and at length satisfy and exceed them aim through
the riches of thy grace in Christ Jesus . Amen."
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                   CHAPTER XXV.


   1. Here it is advised—that afflictions should only be expected.—2. That the righteous
   hand of God should be acknowledged in them when they come.—3. That they should be
   borne with patience.—4. That the divine conduct in them should be cordially
   approved.—5. That thankfulness should be maintained in the midst of trials.—6. That
   the design of afflictions should be diligently inquired into, and all proper assistance
   taken in discovering it.—7. That, when it is discovered, it should humbly be complied
   with and answered. A prayer suited to such a case.

1. SINCE “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward,” (Job 5:7) and Adam has
entailed on all his race the sad inheritance of calamity in their way to death, it will
certainly be prudent and necessary that we should all expect to meet with trials and
afflictions; and that you, reader, whoever you are, should be endeavoring to gird on
your armor, and put yourself in a posture to encounter those trials which will fall to
your lot as a man and a Christian. Prepare yourself to receive your afflictions, and to
endure them, in a manner agreable to both these characters. In this view, when you see
others under the burden, consider how possible it is that you may be called out to the
very same difficulties, or to others equal to them. Put your soul as in the place of theirs.
Think how you could endure the load under which they lie, and endeavor at once to
comfort them, and to strengthen your own heart, or rather pray that God would do it.
And observing how liable mortal life is to such sorrows, moderate your expectations
from it; raise your thoughts above it; and form your schemes of happiness only for that
world where they cannot be disappointed; in the mean time, blessing God that your
prosperity is lengthened out thus far, and ascribing it to his special providence that you
continue so long unwounded, when so many showers of arrows are flying around you,
and so many are falling by them, on the right hand and on the left.
        2. When at length your turn comes, as it certainly will, from the first hour in
which an affliction seizes you, realize to yourself the hand of God in it, and lose not the
view of him in any second cause, which may have proved the immediate occasion. Let
it be your first care to “humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that he may
exalt you in due time.” (1 Pet. 5:6) Own that “he is just in all that is brought upon you,”
(Neh. 9:33) and that in all these things “he punishes you less than your iniquities
deserve.” (Ezra 9:13) Compose yourself to bear his hand with patience, to glorify his
name by a submission to his will, and to fall in with the gracious design of his visitation,
as well as to wait the issue of it quietly, whatsoever the event may be.
        3. Now, that “patience may have its perfect work,” (James 1:4) reflect frequently,
and deeply upon your own unworthiness and sinfulness. Consider how often every
mercy has been forfeited, and every judgment deserved. And consider, too, how long
the patience of God hath borne with you, and how wonderfully it is still exerted
towards you; and indeed not only his patience, but his bounty too. Afflicted as you are,
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

(for I speak to you now as actually under the pressure) look around and survey your
remaining mercies, and be gratefully sensible of them. Make the supposition of their
being removed: what if God should stretch out his hand against you, and add poverty
to pain, or pain to poverty, or the loss of friends to both, or the death of surviving
friends to that of those whom you are now mourning over; would not the wound be
more grievous? Adore his goodness that this is not the case; and take heed lest your
unthankfulness should provoke him to multiply your sorrows. Consider also the need
you have of discipline, how wholesome it may prove to your soul, and what merciful
designs our Heavenly Father has in all the corrections he sends upon his children.
        4. Nay, I will add, that, in consequence of all these considerations, it may be well
expected, not only that you should submit to your afflictions, as what you cannot avoid,
but that you should sweetly acquiesce in them, and approve them; that you should not
only justify, but glorify God in sending them; that you should glorify him with your
heart and with your lips too. Think not praises unsuitable on such an occasion; nor that
praise alone to be suitable, which takes its rise from remaining comforts; but know that
it is your duty, not only to be thankful in your afflictions, but to be thankful on account
of them.
        5. God himself hath said, “in every thing give thanks,” (1 Thes. 5:18) and he has
taught his servants to say, “Yea, also we glory in tribulation.” (Rom. 5:3) And most
certain it is, that to true believers, afflictions are tokens of divine mercy; for “whom the
Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” with peculiar
and distinguishing endearment. (Heb. 12:6) View your present afflictions in this light, as
chastisements of love; and then let your own heart say, whether love does not demand
praise. Think with yourself, “it is thus that God is making me conformable to his own
Son; it is thus that he is training me up for complete glory. Thus he kills my corruptions;
thus he strengthens my graces; thus he is wisely contriving to bring me nearer to
himself and to ripen me for the honors of his heavenly kingdom. It is, if need be, that ‘I
am in heaviness,’ (I Pet. 1:6) and he surely knows what that need is better than I can
pretend to teach him, and knows what peculiar propriety there is in this affliction to
answer my present necessity, and to do me that peculiar good which he is graciously
intending me by it. This tribulation shall ‘work patience, and patience experience,’ and
‘experience a more assured hope,’ even a hope which ‘shall not make ashamed,’ while
the love of God is shed abroad in my heart, (Rom. 5:3,5) and shines through my
affliction, like the sun through a gentle descending cloud, darting in light upon the
shade, and mingling fruitfulness with weeping.”
        6. Let it be then your earnest care, while you thus look on your affliction,
whatever it may be, as coming from the hand of God, to improve it to the purposes for
which it was sent. And that you may so improve it, let it be your first concern to know
what those purposes are. Summon up all the attention of your soul to bear the rod, and
him “who hath appointed it,” (Mic. 6:9) and pray earnestly that you may understand its
voice. Examine your life, your words and your heart; and pray that God would so guide
your inquiries, that you may “return unto the Lord that smiteth you.” (Isa. 9:13) To
assist you in this, call in the help of pious friends, and particularly of your minister:
entreat not only their prayers, but their advice too, as to the probable design of
Providence; and encourage them freely to tell you any thing which occurs to their
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

minds upon this head. And if such an occasion should lead them to touch upon some of
the imperfections of your character and conduct look upon it as a great token of their
friendship, and take it, not only patiently, but thankfully. It does but ill become a
Christian, at any time, to resent reproofs and admonitions; and least of all does it
become him, when the rebukes of his Heavenly Father are upon him. He ought rather to
seek admonitions at such a time as this, and voluntarily offer his wounds to be searched
by a faithful and skillful band.
        7. And when, by one means or another, you have got a ray of light to direct you
in the meaning and language of such dispensations, take heed that you do not, in any
degree, “harden yourself against God, and walk contrary to him.” (Lev. 26:27) Obstinate
reluctance to the apprehended design of any providential stroke is inexpressibly
provoking to him. Set yourself therefore, to an immediate reformation of whatever you
discover amiss, and labor to learn the general lessons of greater submission to God's
will, of a more calm indifference to the world, and of a closer attachment to divine
converse, and to the views of an approaching invisible state. And whatever particular
proportion or correspondence you may observe between this or that circumstance in
your affliction and your former transgressions, be especially careful to act according to
that more peculiar and express voice of the rod. Then you may perhaps have speedy
and remarkable reasons to say, that “it hath been good for you that you have been
afflicted,” (Psa. 119:71) and, with a multitude of others, may learn to number the times
of your sharpest trials among the sweetest and most exalted moments of your life. For
this purpose, let prayer be your frequent employment; and let such sentiments as these,
if not in the very same terms be often and affectionately poured out before God.

              An humble Address to God under the Pressure of heavy Affliction.

        “O thou Supreme, yet all righteous and gracious Governor of the whole
universe! mean and inconsiderable as this little province of thy spacious empire may
appear, thou dost not disregard the earth and its inhabitants, but attendest to its
concerns with the most condescending and gracious regard. ‘Thou reignest, and I
rejoice in it;’ as it is indeed ‘matter of universal joy.’ (Psa. 97:1) I believe thy providence
and care; and I firmly believe thy wise, holy, and kind interposition in everything which
relates to me and to the circumstances of my abode in this world. I would look through
all inferior causes unto thee, whose eyes are upon all thy creatures; to thee, ‘who
formest light and createst darkness’ who ‘makest peace and createst evil;’ (Isa. 45:7) to
thee, Lord, who at thy pleasure canst exchange the one for the other, canst turn the
brightest noon into midnight, and the darkest midnight into noon.
        “O thou wise and merciful Governor of the world! I have often said, ‘Thy will be
done;’ and now, thy will is painful to me. But shall I upon that account unsay what I
have so often said? God forbid! I come rather to lay myself down at thy feet, and to
declare my full and free submission to all thy sacred pleasure. O Lord! thou art just and
righteous in all! I acknowledge, in thy venerable and awful presence, that ‘I have
deserved this,’ and ten thousand times more. (Ezra 9:13) I acknowledge that ‘it is of thy
mercy that I am not utterly consumed,’ (Lam. 3:22) and that any, the least degree, of
comfort yet remains. O Lord! I most readily confess that the sins of one day of my life
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

have merited all these chastisements; and that every day of my life has been more or
less sinful. Smite, therefore, O thou Righteous Judge! and I will still adore thee, that,
instead of the scourge, thou hast not given a commission to the sword, to do all the
dreadful work of justice, and to pour out my blood in thy presence.
        “But shall I speak unto thee only as my Judge? O Lord! thou hast taught me a
tenderer name: thou condescendest to call thyself my Father, and to speak of correction
as the effect of thy love. O welcome, welcome, those afflictions which are the tokens of
thy paternal affection, the marks of my adoption into thy family! Thou knowest what
discipline I need. Thou seest, O Lord! that bundle of folly which there is in the heart of
thy poor, froward, and thoughtless child, and knowest what rods and what strokes are
needful to drive it away. I would therefore ‘be in humble subjection to the Father of
spirits,’ who ‘chastened me for my profit;’ would ‘be in subjection to him and live.’
(Heb. 12:9,10) I would bear thy strokes, not merely because I cannot resist them, but
because I love and trust in thee. I would sweetly acquiesce and rest in thy will, as well
as stoop to it; and would say, ‘Good is the word of the Lord;’ (2 Kin. 20:19) and I desire
that not only my lips, but my soul may acquiesce. Yea, Lord, I would praise thee, that
thou wilt show so much regard to me as to apply such remedies as these to the diseases
of my mind, and art thus kindly careful to train me up for glory. I have no objection
against being afflicted, against being afflicted in this particular way. ‘The cup which my
Father puts into my hand, shall I not drink it?’ (John 18:11) By thine assistance and
support I will. Only be pleased, O Lord! to stand by me, and sometimes to grant me a
favorable look in the midst of my sufferings! Support my soul, I beseech thee, by thy
consolations mingled with my tribulations, and I shall glory in those tribulations that
are thus allayed! It has been the experience of many, who have reflected on afflicted
days with pleasure, and have acknowledged that their comforts have swallowed up
their sorrows. And after all that thou hast done, ‘are thy mercies restrained?’ (Isa. 63:15)
‘Is thy hand waxed short?’ (Num. 11:25) Or canst thou not do the same for me?
        “If my heart be less tender, less sensible, thou canst cure that disorder, and canst
make this affliction the means of curing it. Thus let it be; and at length, in thine own due
time, and in the way which thou shalt choose, work out deliverance for me, ‘and show
me thy marvellous loving-kindness, O thou that savest by thy right band them that put
their trust in thee!’ (Psa. 17:7) For I well know, that how dark soever this night of
affliction may seem, if thou sayest, ‘Let there be light,’ there shall be light. But I would
urge nothing before the time thy wisdom and goodness shall appoint. I am much more
concerned that my afflictions may be sanctified, than that they may be removed.
Number me, O God! among the happy persons whom, whilst thou chastenest, thou
‘teachest out of thy law!’ (Psa. 94:12) Show me, I beseech thee, ‘wherefore thou,
contendest with me,’ (Job 19:2) and purify me by the fire, which is to painful to me
while I am passing through it? Dost thou not chasten thy children for this very end,
‘that they may be partakers of thy holiness?’ (Heb. 12:10) Thou knowest, O God! it is
this my soul is breathing after. I am partaker of thy bounty every day and moment of
my life: I am partaker of thy Gospel, and I hope, in some measure too, a partaker of the
grace of it operating on my heart. O may it operate more and more, that I may largely
partake of thine holiness too; that I may come nearer and nearer in the temper of my
mind to thee, O blessed God! the supreme model of perfection! Let my soul be, as it
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

were, melted, thought with the intensest heat or the furnace, if I may but thereby be
made fit for being delivered into the mold of the Gospel, and bearing thy bright and
amiable image!”
        “O Lord, ‘my soul longeth for thee; it crieth out for the living God!’ (Psa. 84:2) In
thy presence, and under the support of thy love, I can bear anything; and am willing to
bear it, if I may grow more lovely in thine eyes, and more meet for thy kingdom. The
days of my affliction will have an end; the hour will at length come, when thou ‘wilt
wipe away all my tears.’ (Rev. 21:4) ‘Though it tarry,’ I would ‘wait for it.’ (Heb. 2:3) My
foolish heart, in the midst of all its trials, is ready to grow fond of this earth,
disappointing and grievous as it is; and graciously, O God, dost thou deal with me, in
breaking those bonds that would tie me faster to it. O let my soul be girding itself up,
and, as it were, stretching its wings in expectation of that blessed hour when it shall
drop all its sorrows and incumbrances at once, and soar away, to expatiate with infinite
delight in the regions of liberty, peace and joy. Amen.
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                   CHAPTER XXVI.


   1. The examination important.—2. False marks of growth to be avoided.—3. True marks
   proposed; such as—increasing love to God.—4. Benevolence to men.—5. Candor of
   disposition.—6. Meekness under injuries.—7. Serenity amidst the uncertainties of life.—
   8. Humility,—especially as expressed in evangelical exercises of mind toward Christ end
   the Holy Spirit.—10. Zeal for the divine honor.—11. Habitual and cheerful willingness to
   exchange worlds when ever God shall appoint.—12. Conclusion. The Christian
   breathing after growth in grace.

1. IF by divine grace you have “been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible,” (1 Pet. 1:2,3) even “by that word of God which liveth and abideth for
ever,” not only in the world and the church, but in particular souls in which it is sown;
you will, “as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow
thereby.” (1 Pet. 2:2) And though in the most advanced state of religion on earth, we are
but infants in comparison to what we hope to be, when, in the heavenly world, we
arrive “unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”
(Eph. 4:13) yet, as we have some exercise of a sanctified reason, we shall be solicitous
that we may be growing and thriving. And you, my reader, “if so be you have tasted
that the Lord is gracious,” (1 Pet. 2:3) will, I doubt not, feel this solicitude. I would,
therefore, endeavor to assist you in making the inquiry, whether religion be on the
advance in your soul. And here I shall warn you against some false marks of growth,
and then shall endeavor to lay down others on which you may depend as more solid. In
this view I would observe, that you are not to measure your growth in grace only or
chiefly by your advances in knowledge, or in zeal, or any other passionate impression
of the mind, no, nor by the fervor of devotion alone; but by the habitual determination
of the will for God, and by your prevailing disposition to obey his commands, submit to
his disposal, and promote the highest welfare of his cause in the earth.
        2. It must be allowed that knowledge and affection in religion are indeed
desirable. Without some degree of the former, religion cannot be rational and it is very
reasonable to believe, that without some degree of the latter it cannot be sincere, in
creatures whose natures are constituted like ours. Yet there may be a great deal of
speculative knowledge, and a great deal of rapturous affection, where there is no true
religion at all; and still more, where religion exists, though there be no advanced state of
it. The exercise of our rational faculties, upon the evidences of divine revelation, and
upon the declaration of it as contained in Scripture, may furnish a very wicked man
with a well-digested body of orthodox divinity in his head, when not one single
doctrine of it has ever reached his heart. An eloquent description of the sufferings of
Christ, of the solemnities of judgment, of the joys of the blessed, and the miseries of the
damned, might move the breast even of a man who did not firmly believe them; as we
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

often find ourselves strongly moved by well-wrought narrations or discourses, which at
the same time we know to have their foundation in fiction. Natural constitution, or such
accidental causes as are (some of them) too low to be here mentioned, may supply the
eyes with a flood of tears, which may discharge itself plenteously upon almost any
occasion that shall first arise. And a proud impatience of contradiction directly opposite
as it is to the gentle spirit of Christianity, may make a man’s blood boil when he hears
the notions he has entertained, and especially those which he has openly and
vigorously espoused, disputed and opposed. This may possibly lead him, in terms of
strong indignation, to pour out his zeal and his rage before God!, in a fond conceit, that,
as the God of truth, he is the pattern of those favorite doctrines by whose fair
appearances perhaps he himself is misled. And if these speculative refinements, or these
affectionate sallies of the mind, be consistent with a total absence of true religion, they
are much more apparently consistent with a very low state of it. I would desire to lead
you, my friend, into sublimer notions and juster marks, and refer you to other practical
writers, arid, above all, to the book of God, to prove how material they are. I would
therefore entreat you to bring your own heart to answer, as in the presence of God, such
inquiries as these:
         3. Do you find “divine love, on the whole, advancing in your soul?” Do you feel
yourself more and more sensible of the presence of God? and does that sense grow
more delightful to you than it formerly was? Can you, even when your natural spirits
are weak and low, and you are not in any frame for the ardors and ecstacies of
devotion, nevertheless find a pleasing rest, a calm repose of heart, in the thought that
God is near you, and that he sees the secret sentiments of your soul, while you are, as it
were, toward those whom an unsanctified heart might be ready to imagine it had some
just excuse for excepting out of the list of those it loves, and from whom you are ready
to feel some secret alienation or aversion. How does your mind stand affected toward
those who differ from you in their religious sentiments and practices? I do not say that
Christian charity will require you to think every error harmless. It argues no want of
love to a friend, in some cases, to fear lest his disorder should prove more fatal than he
seems to imagine: nay, sometimes the very tenderness of friendship may increase that
apprehension. But to hate persons because we think they are mistaken, and to aggravate
every difference in judgment or practice into a fatal and damnable error that destroys
all Christian communion and love, is a symptom generally much worse than the evil it
condemns. Do you love the image of Christ in a person who thinks himself obliged in
conscience to profess and worship in a manner different from yourself? Nay, farther,
can you love and honor that which is truly amiable and excellent in those in whom
much is defective; in those in whom there is a mixture of bigotry and narrowness of
spirit, which may lead them perhaps to slight, or even to censure you? Can you love
them as the disciples and servants of Christ, who, through a mistaken zeal, may be
ready to “cast out your name as evil,” (Luke 6:22) and to warn others against you as a
dangerous person? This is none of the least triumphs of charity, nor any despicable
evidence of an advance in religion.
         6. And, on this head, reflect farther, “How can you bear injuries?” There is a
certain hardness of soul in this respect, which argues a confirmed state in piety and
virtue. Does every thing of this kind hurry and ruffle you, so as to put you on
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

contrivances how you may recompense, or, at least, how you may disgrace and expose
him who has done you the wrong? Or can you stand the shock calmly, and easily divert
your mind to other objects, only (when you recollect these things) pitying and praying
for those who with the worst tempers and views are assaulting you? This is a Christ-
like temper indeed, and he will own it as such; will own you as one of his soldiers, as
one of his heroes; especially if it rises so far, as, instead of being “overcome of evil, to
overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21) Watch over your spirit and over your tongue,
when injuries are offered, and see whether you be ready to meditate upon them, to
aggravate them in your own view, to complain of them to others, and to lay on all the
load of blame that you in justice can; or, whether you be ready to put the kindest
construction upon the offence, to excuse it as far as reason will allow, and (where, after
all, it will wear a black and odious aspect) to forgive it, heartily to forgive it, and that
even before any submission is made, or pardon asked; and in token of the sincerity of
that forgiveness, to be contriving what can be done, by some benefit or other, toward
the injurious person, to teach him a better temper.
         7. Examine farther, “with regard to other evils and calamities of life, and even
with regard to its uncertainties, how you can bear them.” Do you find your soul is in
this respect gathering strength? Have you fewer foreboding fears and disquieting
alarms than you once had, as to what may happen in life? Can you trust the wisdom
and goodness of God to order your affairs for you, with more complacency and
cheerfulness than formerly? Do you find yourself able to unite your thoughts more in
surveying present circumstances, that you may collect immediate duty from them,
though you know not what God will next appoint or call you to? And when you feel the
smart of affliction, do you make a less matter of it? Can you transfer your heart more
easily to heavenly and divine objects, without an anxious solicitude whether this or that
burden be removed, so it may but be sanctified to promote your communion with God
and your ripeness for glory?
         8. Examine also, “whether you advance in humility.” This is a silent but most
excellent grace; and they who are most eminent in it, are dearest to God, and most fit for
the communications of his presence to them. Do you then feel your mind more emptied
of proud and haughty imaginations, not prone so much to look back upon past services
which it has performed, as forward to those which are yet before you, and inward upon
the remaining imperfections of your heart? Do you more tenderly observe your daily
failures and miscarriages, and find yourself disposed to mourn over those things before
the Lord, that once passed with you as slight matters, though, when you come to survey
them as in the presence of God, you find they were not wholly involuntary or free from
guilt? Do you feel in your breast a deeper apprehension of the infinite majesty of the
blessed God, and of the glory of his natural and moral perfections, so as, in consequence
of these views, to perceive yourself as it were annihilated in his presence, and to shrink
into “less than nothing, and vanity?” (Isa. 40:17) If this be your temper, God will look
upon you with peculiar favor, and will visit you more and more with the distinguishing
blessings of his grace.
         9. But there is another great branch and effect of Christian humility, which it
would be an unpardonable negligence to omit. Let me therefore farther inquire, are you
more frequently renewing your application, your sincere, steady, determined
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

application, to the righteousness and blood of Christ, as being sensible how unworthy
you are to appear before God otherwise than in him? And do the remaining corruptions
of your heart humble you before him, though the disorders of your life are in a great
measure cured? Are you more earnest to obtain the quickening influences of the Holy
Spirit? And have you such a sense of your own weakness as to engage you to depend,
in all the duties you perform, upon the communications of his grace to “help your
infirmities?” (Rom. 8:26) Can you, at the close of your most religious, exemplary, and
useful days, blush before God for the deficiencies of them, while others perhaps may he
ready to admire and extol your conduct? And while you give the glory of all that has
been right to him from whom the strength and grace has been derived, are you coming
to the blood of sprinkling, to free you from the guilt which mingles itself even with the
best of your services? Do you learn to receive the bounties of Providence, not only with
thankfulness, as coming from God, but with a mixture of shame and confusion too,
under a consciousness that you do not deserve them, and are continually forfeiting
them? And do you justify Providence in your afflictions and disappointments, even
while many are flourishing around you full in the bloom of prosperity, whose offences
have been more visible at least, and more notorious than yours?
        10. Do you also advance “in zeal and activity” for the service of God and the
happiness of mankind? Does your love show itself solid and sincere, by a continual
flow of good works from it? Can you view the sorrows of others with tender
compassion, and with projects and contrivances what you may do to relieve them? Do
you feel in your breast that you are more frequently “devising liberal things,” (Isa. 32:8)
and ready to waive your own advantage or pleasure that you may accomplish them ?
Do you find your imagination teeming, as it were, with conceptions and schemes for the
advancement of the cause and interest of Christ in the world, for the propagation of his
Gospel, and for the happiness of your fellow-creatures ? And do you not only pray, but
act for it act in such a manner as to show that you pray in earnest, and feel a readiness
to do what little you can in this cause, even though others, who might, if they pleased,
very conveniently do a vast deal more, will do nothing?
        11. And, not to enlarge upon this copious head, reflect once more, “how your
affections stand with regard to this world and another.” Are you more deeply and
practically convinced of the vanity of these “things which are seen, and are temporal?”
(2 Cor. 4:18) Do you perceive your expectations from them, and your attachments to
them to diminish? You are willing to stay in this world as long as your Father pleases;
and it is right and well; but do you find your bonds so loosened to it; that you are
willing, heartily willing, to leave it at the shortest warning; so that if God should see fit
to summon you away on a sudden, though it should be in the midst of your
enjoyments, pursuits, expectations, and hopes, you would cordially consent to that
remove without saying, “Lord, let me stay a little while longer, to enjoy this or that
agreeable entertainment, to finish this or that scheme?” Can you think, with an habitual
calmness and hearty approbation, if such be the divine pleasure, of waking no more
when you lie down on your bed, of returning home no more when you go out of your
house? And yet on the other hand, how great soever the burdens of life are, do you find
a willingness to bear them, in submission to the will of your heavenly Father, though it
should be to many future years, and though they should be years of far greater
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

affliction than you have ever yet seen? Can you say calmly and steadily, if not with such
overflowings of tender affection as you could desire, “Behold, ‘thy servant,’ thy child is
‘in thine hand, do with me as seemeth good in thy sight!’ (2 Sam. 15:26) My will is
melted into thine; to be lifted up or laid down, to be carried out or brought in, to be here
or there, in this or that circumstance, just as thou pleasest, and as shall best suit with thy
great extensive plan, which it is impossible that I, or all the angels in heaven, should
        12. These, if I understand matters aright, are some of the most substantial
evidences of growth and establishment in religion. Search after them: bless God for
them, so for as you discover them in yourself, and study to advance in them daily,
under the influences of divine grace; to which I heartily recommend you, and to which I
entreat you frequently to recommend yourself.

                   The Christian breathing earnestly after growth in Grace.

        “O thou ever-blessed Fountain of natural and spiritual life! I thank thee that I
live, and know the exercises and pleasures of a religious life. I bless thee that thou hast
infused into me thine own vital breath, though I was once ‘dead in trespasses and sins,’
(Eph. 2:1) so that I am become, in a sense peculiar to thine own children, ‘a living soul.’
(Gen. 2:7) But it is my earnest desire that I may not only live but grow, ‘grow in grace,
and in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,’ (2 Pet. 3:18) upon an
acquaintance with whom my progress in it so evidently depends. In this view, I humbly
entreat thee that thou wilt form my mind to right notions in religion, that I may not
judge of grace by any wrong conceptions of it, nor measure my advances in it by those
things which are merely the effects of nature, and possibly its corrupt effects!
        “May I be seeking after an increase of divine love to thee, my God and Father in
Christ, of unreserved resignation to thy wise and holy will, and of extensive
benevolence to my fellow-creatures! May I grow in patience and fortitude of soul, in
humility and zeal, in spirituality and a heavenly disposition of mind, and in a concern,
‘that, whether present or absent, I may be accepted of the Lord,’ (2 Cor. 5:9) that
whether I live or die, it may be for thy glory. In a word, as thou knowest I hunger and
thirst after righteousness, make me whatever thou wouldst delight to see me! Draw on
my soul, by the gentle influences of thy gracious Spirit, every trace, and every feature,
which thine eye, O Heavenly Father, may survey with pleasure, and which thou mayest
acknowledge as thine own image.
        “I am sensible, O Lord, I have not as yet attained, yea, my soul is utterly
confounded to think how far I am from being already perfect; but this one thing (after
thy great example of thine apostle) I would endeavor to do: ‘forgetting the things which
are behind, I would press forward to those which are before.’ (Phil. 3:12,13) O that thou
wouldst feed my soul by thy word and Spirit! Having been, as I humbly hope and trust,
regenerated by it, ‘being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, even
by thy word, which liveth and abideth for ever;’ (1 Pet. 1:23) ‘as a new-born babe, I
desire the sincere milk of the word, that I may grow thereby.’ (1 Pet. 2:2) And may ‘my
profiting appear unto all men,’ (1 Tim. 4:15) till at length ‘I come unto a perfect man,
unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,’ (Eph. 4:13) and after having
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

enjoyed the pleasure of those that flourish eminently in thy courts below, be fixed in the
paradise above! I ask and hope it through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; ‘to him be
glory, both now and for ever’ (2 Pet. 3:18) Amen”
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                    CHAPTER XXVII.


   1. A holy joy in God, our privilege as well as our duty.—2. The Christian invited to the
   exercise of it.—3. By the consideration of temporal mercies.—4. And of spiritual
   favors.—5. By the views of eternal happiness.—6. And of the mercies of God to others,
   the living and the dead.—7. The chapter closes with an exhortation to this heavenly
   exercise. And with an example of the genuine workings of this grateful joy in God.

1. I WOULD now suppose my reader to find, on an examination of his spiritual state,
that he is growing in grace. And if you desire that this growth may at once be
acknowledged and promoted, let me call your soul “to that more affectionate exercise of
love to God and joy in him,” which suits, and strengthens, and exalts the character of
the advanced Christian; and which I beseech you to regard, not only as your privilege,
but as your duty too. Love is the most sublime, generous principle, of all true and
acceptable obedience; and with love, when so wisely and happily fixed, when so
certainly returned, JOY, proportionable JOY, must naturally be connected. It may justly
grieve a man that enters into the spirit of Christianity, to see how low a life even the
generality of sincere Christians commonly live in this respect. “Rejoice then in the Lord,
ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness,” (Psa. 97:12) and of all
those other perfections and glories which are included in that majestic, that wonderful,
that delightful name, THE LORD THY GOD. Spend not your sacred moments merely in
confession or in petition, though each must have their daily share; but give a part, a
considerable part, to the Celestial and angelic work of praise. Yea, labor to carry about
with you continually, a heart overflowing with such sentiments, warmed and inflamed
with such affections.
       2. Are there not continually rays enough diffused from the great Father of light
and love to enkindle it in our bosom? Come, my Christian friend and brother, come and
survey with me the goodness of our heavenly Fattier. And oh! that he would give me
such a sense of it, that I might represent it in a suitable manner, that “while I am
musing, the fire may burn” in my own heart, (Psa. 39:3) and be communicated to yours!
And oh! that it might pass, with the lines I write, from soul to soul, awakening in the
breast of every Christian that reads them, sentiments more worthy the children of God
and the heirs of glory, who are to spend end an eternity in those sacred exercises to
which I am now endeavoring to excite you.
       3. Have you not reason to adopt the words of David, and say, ‘How many are
thy gracious thoughts unto me, O Lord!’ how great is the sum of them! When I would
count them, they are more in number than the sand.” (Psa. 139:17,18) You indeed know
where to begin the survey, for the favors of God to you began with your being.
Commemorate it therefore with a grateful heart, that the eyes which “saw your
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

substance, being yet imperfect,” beheld you with a friendly care “when you were made
in secret,” and have watched over you ever since—and that the hand which “drew the
plan of your members, when as yet there was none of them,” (Psa. 139:15,16) not only
fashioned them at first, but from that time has been concerned in “keeping all your
bones, so that none of them is broken,” (Psa. 34:20) and that, indeed, it is to this you
owe it that you live. Look back upon the path you have trod, from the day that God
brought you out of the womb, and say whether you do not, as it were, see all the road
thick set with the marks and memorials of the divine goodness. Recollect the places
where you have lived, and the persons with whom you have most intimately
conversed, and call to mind the mercies you have received in those places, and from
those persons, as the instruments of the divine care and goodness. Recollect the
difficulties and dangers with which you have been surrounded, and reflect attentively
on what God hath done to defend you from them, or to carry you through them. Think
how often there has been but a step between you and death, and how suddenly God
has sometimes interposed to set you in safety, even before you apprehended your
danger. Think of those chambers of illness in which you have been confined; and from
whence, perhaps, you once thought you should go forth no more; but said, with
Hezekiah, in the cutting off of your days, “I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am
deprived of the residue of my years.” (Isa. 38:10) God has, it may be, since that time,
added many years to your life; and you know not how many are in reserve, or how
much usefulness and happiness may attend each. Survey your circumstances in relative
life; how ninny kind friends are surrounding you daily, and studying how they may
contribute to your comfort. Reflect on those remarkable circumstances in Providence,
which occasioned the knitting of some bonds of this kind, which, next to those which
join your soul to God, you number among the happiest. And forget not in how many
instances, when these dear lives have been threatened, lives perhaps more sensibly dear
than your own God has given them back from the borders of the grave, and so added
new endearments, arising from that tender circumstance, to all your after converse with
them. Nor forget, in how gracious a manner he hath supported some others in their last
moments, and enabled them to leave behind a sweet odor of piety, which hath
embalmed their memories, revived you when ready to faint under the sorrows of the
last separation, and, on the whole, made even the recollection of their death delightful.
        4. But it is more than time that I lead on your thoughts to the many spiritual
mercies which God has bestowed upon you. Look back, as it were, to “the rock from
whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence you were digged.” (Isa.
1:1) Reflect seriously on the state wherein divine grace found you: under how much
guilt, under how much pollution! in what danger, in what ruin! Think what was, and O
think with yet deeper reflection. what would have been the case! The eye of God, which
penetrates into eternity, saw what your mind, amused with the trifles of the present
time and sensual gratification, was utterly ignorant and regardless of: it saw you on the
borders of eternity, and pitied you; saw that you would in a little time have been such a
helpless, wretched creature as the sinner that is just now dead, and has, to his infinite
surprise and everlasting terror, met his unexpected doom; and would, like him, stand
thunderstruck in astonishment and despair. This God saw, and he pitied you; and being
merciful to you, he provided, in the counsel of his eternal love and grace, a Redeemer
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

for you, and purchased you to himself, through the blood of his Son: a price which, if
you will pause upon it, and think seriously what it was, must surely affect you to such a
degree as to make you to fall down before God in wonder and shame, to think it should
ever have been given for you. To accomplish these blessed purposes, he sent his grace
into your heart; so that, though “you were once darkness, you are now light in the
Lord.” (Eph. 5:8) He made that happy change which you now feel in your soul, and “by
his Holy Spirit, which is given to you,” he shed abroad that principle of love (Rom. 5:5)
which is enkindled by this review, and now flames with greater ardor than before. Thus
far he hath supported you in your Christian course, and “having obtained help from
him,” it is that you continue even to this day. (Acts 26:22) He hath not only blessed you,
but “made you a blessing;” (Gen. 12:2.) and though you have not been so useful as that
holy generosity of heart which he has excited would have engaged you to desire, yet
some good you have done in the station in which he has fixed you. Some of your
brethren of mankind have been relieved; perhaps, too, some thoughtless creature
reclaimed to virtue and happiness by his blessing on your endeavors. Some in the way
to heaven are praising God for you; and some, perhaps, already there, are longing for
your arrival, that they may thank you, in nobler and more expressive forms, for
benefits, the importance of which they now sufficiently understand, though while here,
they could never conceive it.
        5. Christian, look around on the numberless blessings, of one kind and of
another, with which you are already encompassed; and advance your prospect still
farther, to what faith yet discovers within the veil. Think of those now unknown
transports with which thou shalt drop every burden in the grave; and thine immortal
spirit shall mount, light and joyful, holy and happy to God, its original, its support, and
its hope; to God, the source of being, of holiness, and of pleasure; to Jesus, through
whom all these blessings are derived to thee, and who will appoint thee a throne near to
his own, to be for ever a spectator and partaker of his glory. Think of the rapture with
which thou shalt attend his triumph in the resurrection-day, and receive this poor,
moldering, corruptible body, transformed into his glorious image; and then think,
“These hopes are not mine alone, but the hopes of thousands and millions. Multitudes,
whom I number among the dearest of my friends upon the earth, are rejoicing with me
in these apprehensions and views; and God gives me sometimes to see the smiles on
their cheeks, the sweet, humble hope that sparkles in their eyes and shines through the
tears of tender gratitude, and to hear that little of their inward complacency and joy
which language can express. Yea, and multitudes more, who were once equally dear to
me with these, though I have laid them in the grave, and wept over the dust, are living
to God, living in the possession of inconceivable delights, and drinking large draughts
of the water of life, which flows in perpetual streams at his right hand.”
        6. O Christian! thou art still intimately united and allied to them. Death cannot
break a friendship thus cemented, and it ought not to render thee insensible of the
happiness of those friends for whose memory thou retainest so just an honor. They live
to God as his servants; they “serve him and see his face,”(Rev. 22: 3,4) and they make
but a small part of that glorious assembly. Millions, equally worthy of thine esteem and
affection with themselves, inhabit those blissful regions; and wilt thou not rejoice in
their joy? And wilt thou not adore that everlasting spring of holiness and happiness
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

from whence each of their streams is derived? Yea, I will add, while the blessed angels
are so kindly regarding us, while they are ministering to thee, O Christian! and bearing
thee in their arms, “as an heir of salvation,” (Heb. 1:14) wilt thou not rejoice in their
felicity too? And wilt thou not adore that God who gives them all the superior glory of
their more exalted nature, and gives them a heaven, which fills them with blessedness
even while they seem to withdraw from it, that they may attend on thee?
        7. This, and infinitely more than this the blessed God is, and was, and shall ever
be. The felicities of the blessed spirits that surround his throne, and thy felicities, O
Christian! are immortal. These heavenly luminaries shall glow with an undecaying
flame, and thou shalt shine and burn among them when the sun and the stars are gone
out. Still shall the unchanging Father of lights pour forth his beams upon them; and the
lustre they reflect from him, and their happiness in him, shall be everlasting, shall be
ever growing. Bow down, O thou child of God, thou heir of glory; bow down, and let
all that is within thee unite in one act of grateful love; and let all that is around thee, all
that is before thee in the prospects of an unbounded eternity, concur to elevate and
transport thy soul, that thou mayest, as far as possible, begin the work and blessedness
of heaven, in falling down before the God of it, in opening thine heart to his gracious
influences, and in breathing out before him that incense of praise which these warm
beams of his presence and love have so great a tendency to produce, and to ennoble
with a fragrancy resembling that of his paradise above.

  The grateful Soul rejoicing in the Blessings of Providence and Grace, and pouring out itself
             before God in vigorous and affectionate Exercises of Love and Praise.

        “O my God, it is enough! I have mused, and ‘the fire burneth!’ (Psa. 39:3) But oh!
in what language shall the flame break forth? What can a say but this, that my heart
admires thee, and adores thee, and loves thee? My little vessel is as full as it can hold;
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee, that it may grow capable of receiving
more and more. Thou art ‘my hope and my help; my glory, and the lifter up of my
head.’ (Psa. 3:3) ‘My heart rejoiceth in thy salvation’ (Psa. 13:5) and when I set myself
under the influences of thy good Spirit to converse with thee, a thousand delightful
thoughts spring up at once; a thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, and flow in
upon my soul with such refreshment and joy, that they seem to crowd into every
moment the happiness of days, and weeks, and months.
        “I bless thee, O God, for this soul of mine which thou hast created; which thou
hast taught to say, and I hope to the happiest purpose, ‘Where is God my Maker!’ (Job
35:10) I bless thee for the knowledge with which thou hast adorned it. I bless thee for
that grace with which I trust I may (not without humble wonder) say, thou hast
sanctified it; though, alas! the celestial plant is fixed in too barren a soil, and does not
flourish to the degree I could wish.
        “I bless thee also for that body which thou hast given me, and which thou
preservest as yet in its strength and vigor, not only capable of relishing the
entertainments which thou providest for its various senses, but (which I esteem far
more valuable than any of them for its own sake) capable of acting with some vivacity
in thy service. I bless thee for that case and freedom with which these limbs of mine
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

move themselves, and obey the dictates of my spirit, I hope as guided by thine. I bless
thee that ‘the keepers of my house do not tremble, nor the strong men bow themselves;’
that they ‘that look out of the windows are not yet darkened, nor the daughters of
music brought low.’ I bless thee, O God of my life! that ‘the silver cord is not yet loosed,
nor the golden bowl broken;’ (Eccl. 12:3,4,6) for it is thine hand that braces all my
nerves, and thine infinite skill that prepares those spirits that flow in so freely; and
when exhausted, recruit so soon and so plentifully. I praise thee for that royal bounty
with which thou providest for the daily support of mankind in general, and for mine in
particular; for the various tables which thou spreadest before me, and for the
overflowing cup which thou ‘puttest into my hands.’ (Psa. 23:5) I bless thee that these
bounties of thy providence do not serve, as it were, to upbraid a disabled appetite, and
are not ‘like messes of meat set before the dead.’ I bless thee too, that I ‘eat not my
morsel of meat alone,’ (Job 31:17) but share it with so many agreeable friends, who add
the relish of a social life to that of the animal, at our seasons of common repast. I thank
thee for so many dear relatives at home, for so many kind friends abroad, who are
capable of serving me in various instances, and disposed to make an obliging use of that
        “Nor would I forget to acknowledge thy favor in rendering me capable of
serving others, and giving me in any instance to know how much ‘more blessed it is to
give than to receive.’ (Acts, 20:35) I thank thee for a heart which feels the sorrows of the
necessitous, and a mind which can make it my early care and refreshment to contrive,
according to my little ability, for their relief; for ‘this also cometh forth from thee, O
Lord!’ (Isa. 28:29) the great Author of every benevolent inclination, of every prudent
scheme, of every successful attempt to spread happiness around us, or in any instance
to lessen distress.
        “And surely, O Lord, if I thus acknowledge the pleasures of sympathy with the
afflicted, much more must I bless thee for those of sympathy with the happy, with those
that are completely blessed. I adore thee for the streams that water Paradise, and
maintain it in ever-flourishing, ever-growing delight. I praise thee for the rest, the joy,
the transport, thou art giving to many that were once dear to me on earth, whose
sorrows it was my labor to soothe, and whose joys, especially in thee, it was the delight
of my heart to promote. I praise thee for the blessedness of every saint, and of every
angel that surrounds thy throne above; and I praise thee, with accents of distinguished
pleasure for that reviving hope which thou hast implanted in my bosom, that I shall, ere
long, know, by clear sight, and by everlasting experience, what that felicity of theirs is
which I now only discover at a distance, through the comparatively obscure glass of
faith. Even now, through thy grace, do I feel myself borne forward by thy supporting
arm to those regions of blessedness. Even now am I ‘waiting for thy salvation,’ (Gen.
49:18) with that ardent desire, on the one hand, which its sublime greatness cannot but
inspire into the believing soul, and that calm resignation on the other, which the
immutability of thy promise establishes.
        “And now, O my God, what shall I say unto thee? what, but that I love thee
above all the powers of language to express! That I love thee for what thou art to thy
creatures, who are, in their various forms, every moment deriving being, knowledge
and happiness from thee, in numbers and degrees far beyond what my narrow
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

imagination can conceive. But, oh! I adore and love thee yet far more for what thou art
in thyself; for those stores of perfection which creation has not diminished, and which
can never be exhausted by all the effects of it which thou impartest to thy creatures; that
infinite perfection which makes thee thine own happiness, thine own end; amiable,
infinitely amiable and venerable, were all derived excellence and happiness forgot.
        “O thou first, thou greatest, thou fairest of all objects! thou only great, thou only
fair, possess all my soul! And surely thou dost possess it. While I thus feel thy sacred
Spirit breathing on my heart, and exciting these fervors of love to thee, I cannot doubt it
any more than I can doubt the reality of this animal life, while I exert the actings of it,
and feel its sensations. Surely, if ever I knew the appetite of hunger, my soul ‘hungers
after righteousness, (Matt. 5:6) and longs for a greater conformity to thy blessed nature
and holy will. If ever my palate felt thirst, ‘my soul thirsteth for God, even for the living
God,’ (Psa. 42:2) and panteth for the more abundant communication of his favor. If ever
this body, when wearied with labor or journies, knew what it was to wish for the
refreshment of my bed, and rejoice to rest there, my soul, with sweet acquiescence, rests
upon thy gracious bosom, O my heavenly Father, and returns to its repose in the em-
braces of its God, ‘who hath dealt so bountifully with it.’ (Psa. 116:7) And if ever I saw
the face of a beloved friend with complacency and joy, I rejoice in beholding thy face, O
Lord, and in calling thee my Father in Christ. Such thou art, and such thou wilt be, for
time and for eternity. What have I more to do, but to commit myself to thee for both?
Leaving it to thee to ‘choose my inheritance’ and to order my affairs for me, (Psa. 47:4)
while all my business is to serve thee, and all my delight to praise thee. ‘My soul
follows hard after God,’ because ‘his right hand upholds me.’ (Psa. 63:8) Let it still bear
me up, and I shall press on toward thee, till all my desires be accomplished in the
eternal enjoyment of thee! Amen'
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                   CHAPTER XXVIII.


   1, 2. A sincere love to God will express itself not only in devotion, but in benevolence to
   men.—3. This is the command of God.—4. The true Christian feels his soul wrought to a
   holy conformity to it.—5. And therefore will desire instruction on this head.—6.
   Accordingly, directions are given for the improvement of various talents: particularly
   genius and learning.—7. Power.—8. Domestic authority.—9. Esteem.—10. Riches.—11.
   Several good ways of employing them hinted at.—12, 13. Prudence in expense urged, for
   the support of charity.—14. Divine direction in this respect to be sought. The Christian
   breathing after more extensive usefulness.

1. SUCH as I have described in the former chapter, I trust, are and will be the frequent
exercises or your soul before God. Thus will your love and gratitude breathe itself forth
in the divine presence and will, through Jesus the great Mediator, come up before it as
incense, and yield an acceptable savor. But then, you must remember, this will not be
the only effect of that love to God which I have supposed so warm in your heart. If it be
sincere, it will not spend itself in words alone, but will discover itself in actions, and
wilt produce, as its genuine fruit, an unfeigned love to your fellow-creatures, and an
unwearied desire and labor to do them good continually.
       2. “Has the great Father of mercies,” will you say, “looked upon me with so
gracious an eye? has he not only forgiven me ten thousand offences, but enriched me
with such a variety of benefits? O what shall render to him for them all? Instruct me, O
ye oracles of eternal truth! Instruct me, ye elder brethren in the family of my heavenly
Father! Instruct me, above all, O thou Spirit of wisdom and love! what I may be able to
do, to express my love to the great eternal fountain of love, and to approve my fidelity
to him who has already done so much to engage it, and who will take so much pleasure
in owning and rewarding it!”
       3. This, O Christian! is the command which we have heard from the beginning,
and it will ever continue in unimpaired force, “that he who loveth God,” should “love
his brother also,” (I John, 4:21) and should express that love, “not in word and
profession alone, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3: 18) You are to love your neighbor
as yourself; to love the whole creation of God; and, so far as your influence can extend,
must endeavor to make it happy.
       4. “Yes,” will you not say, and “I do love it. I feel the golden chain of divine love
encircling us all, and binding us close to each other, joining us in one body, and
diffusing as it were, one soul through all. May happiness, true and sublime, perpetual
and ever-growing happiness, reign through the whole world of God's rational and
obedient creatures in heaven and on earth! And may every revolted creature, that is
capable of being recovered and restored, be made obedient! Yea, may the necessary
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

punishment of those who are irrecoverable, be overruled by infinite wisdom and love to
the good of the whole!”
       5. These are right sentiments, and if they are indeed the sentiments of your heart,
O reader! and not an empty form of vain words, they will be attended with a serious
concern to act in subordination to this great scheme of divine Providence, according to
your abilities in their utmost extent. And to this purpose, they will put you on
surveying the peculiar circumstances of your life and being, that you may discover
what opportunities of usefulness they now afford, and how those opportunities and
capacities may be improved. Enter therefore into such a survey, not that you may pride
yourself in the distinctions of divine Providence or grace towards you, or, “having
received, may glory as if you had not received;” (I Cor. 4:7) but that you may deal
faithfully with the great Proprietor, whose steward you are, and by whom you are
entrusted with every talent, which, with respect to any claim from your fellow-
creatures, you may call your own. And here, “having gifts differing according to the
grace that is given to us,” (Rom. 12:6) let us hold the balance with an impartial hand,
that so we may determine what it is that God requires of us; which is nothing less than
doing the most we can invent, contrive, and effect, for the general good. But, oh! how
seldom is this estimate faithfully made! And how much does the world around us, and
how much do our own souls suffer for want of that fidelity!
       6. Hath God given you genius and learning? It was not that you might amuse or
deck yourself with it, and kindle a blaze which should only serve to attract and dazzle
the eyes of men. It was intended to be the means of heading both yourself and them to
the Father of lights. And it will be your duty, according to the peculiar turn of that
genius and capacity, either to endeavor to improve and adorn human life, or, by a more
direct application of it to divine subjects, to plead the cause of religion, to defend its
truths, to enforce and recommend its practicer to deter men from courses which would
be dishonorable to God and fatal to themselves, and to try the utmost efforts of all the
solemnity and tenderness with which you can clothe your addresses, to lead them into
the paths of virtue and happiness.
       7. Has God invested you with power, whether it be in a larger or smaller society?
Remember that this power was given you that God might be honored, and those placed
under your government, whether domestic or public, might be made happy. Be
concerned, therefore, that, whether you be entrusted with the rod, or the sword, it may
“not be” borne in vain. (Rom. 13:4) Are you a magistrate? Have you any share in the
great and tremendous charge of enacting laws? Reverence the authority of the supreme
Legislator, the great Guardian of society: promote none, consent to none, which you do
not in your own conscience esteem, in present circumstances, an intimation of his will,
and in the establishment of which you do not firmly believe you shalt be “his minister
for good.” (Rom. 13:4) Have you the charge of executing laws? Put life into them by a
vigorous and strenuous execution, according to the nature of the particular office you
bear. Retain not an empty name of authority. Permit not yourself, as it were, to fall
asleep on the tribunal. Be active, be wakeful, be observant of what passes around you.
Protect the upright and the innocent. Break in pieces the power of the oppressor. Unveil
every dishonest heart. Disgrace as well as defeat the wretch that makes his
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

distinguished abilities the disguise or protection of the wickedness which he ought
rather to endeavor to expose, and to drive out of the world with abhorrence.
       8. Are you placed only at the head of a private family? Rule it for God.
Administer the concerns of that little kingdom with the same views, and on the same
principles, which I have been inculcating oil the powerful and the great, if, by any
unexpected accident, any of them should suffer their eyes to glance upon the passage
above. Your children and servants are your natural subjects. Let good order be
established among them, and keep them under a regular discipline. Let them be
instructed in the principles of religion, that they may know how reasonable such a
discipline is; and let them be accustomed to act accordingly. You cannot indeed change
their hearts, but you may very much influence their conduct, and by that means may
preserve them from many snares, may do a great deal to make them good members of
society, and may set them, as it were, “in the way of God's steps,” (Psa. 85:13) if
peradventure passing by be may bless them with the riches of his grace. And fail not to
do your utmost to convince them of their need of those blessings; labor to engage them
to a high esteem of them, and to an earnest desire of them, as incomparably more
valuable than any thing else.
       9. Again, has God been pleased to raise you to esteem among your fellow-
creatures, which is not always in proportion to a man's rank or possession in human
life? Are your counsels heard with attention? Is your company sought? Does God give
you good acceptance in the eyes of men, so that they do not only put the fairest
constructions on your words, but overlook faults of which you are conscious to
yourself, and consider your actions and performances in the most indulgent and
favorable light? You ought to regard this, not only as a favor of Providence, and as an
encouragement to you cheerfully to pursue your duty, in the several branches of it, for
the time to come, but also, as giving you much greater opportunities of usefulness than
in your present station you could otherwise have had. If your character has any weight
in the world, throw it into the right scale. Endeavor to keep virtue and goodness in
countenance. Affectionately give your hand to modest worth, where it seems to be
depressed or overlooked; though shining, when viewed in its proper light, with a lustre
which you may think much superior to your own. Be an advocate for truth; be a
counsellor for peace; be an example of candor; and do all you can to reconcile the hearts
of men, especially of good men, to each other, however they may differ in their opinions
about matters which it is impossible for good men to dispute. And let the caution and
humility of your behavior, in circumstances of such superior eminence, and amidst so
many tokens of general esteem, silently reprove the rashness and haughtiness of those
who perhaps are remarkable for little else; or who, if their abilities were indeed
considerable, must be despised, and whose talents must be in a great measure lost to
the public, till that rashness and haughtiness of spirit be subdued. Nor suffer yourself to
he interrupted in this generous and worthy course, by the little attacks or envy and
calumny which you may meet. Be still attentive to the general good, and steadily
resolute in your efforts to promote it; and leave it to Providence to guard or to rescue
your character from the base assaults of malice and falsehood, which will often, without
your labor, confute themselves, and heap upon the authors greater shame, or (if they
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

are inaccessible to that} greater infamy, than your humanity will allow you to wish
        10. Once more, Has God blessed you with riches? Has he placed you in such
circumstances that you have more than you absolutely need for the subsistence of
yourself and your family? Remember your approaching account. Remember what an
incumbrance these things often prove to men in the way of their salvation, and how
often, according to our Lord's express declaration, they render it “as difficult to enter
into the kingdom of God, as it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” (Matt.
19:24) Let it therefore be your immediate, your earnest, and your daily prayer, that
riches may not be a snare and a shame to you, as they are to by far the greater part of
their possessors. Appropriate, I beseech you, some certain part and proportion of your
estate and revenue to charitable uses; with a provisional increase, as God shall prosper
you in any extraordinary instance. By this means you will always have a fund of charity
at hand; and you will probably be more ready to communicate, when you look upon
what is so deposited as not in any sense your own, but as already actually given away
to those uses, though not yet affixed to particular objects. It is not for me to say what
that proportion ought to be. To those who have large revenues, and no children,
perhaps a third or one half may be too little; to those whose incomes are small, and their
charge considerable, though they have something more than is absolutely necessary, it
is possible a tenth may be too much. But pray that God would guide your mind; make a
trial for one year, on such terms as in your conscience you think will be most pleasing to
him; and let your observations on that teach you to fix your proportion for the next
always remembering, that he requires justice in the first place, and alms-deeds only so
far as may consist with that. Yet, at the same time, take heed of that treacherous,
delusive, and, in many instances, destructive imagination, “that justice to your own
family requires that yon should leave your children very rich; which has perhaps cost
some parsimonious parents the lives of those darlings for whom they laid up the
portion of the poor; and what fatal consequences of divine displeasure may attend it to
those that yet survive, God Only knows; and I heartily pray that you or yours may
never learn by experience.
        11. And that your heart may be yet more opened, and that your charity may be
directed to the best purposes, let me briefly mention a variety of good uses which may
call for the consideration of those whom God has in this respect distinguished by an
ability to do good. To assist the hints I am to offer, look round on the neighborhood in
which you live. Thank how many honest and industrious, perhaps too, I might add,
religious people, are making very hard shifts to struggle through life. Think what a
comfort that would be to them, which you might without any inconvenience spare from
that abundance which God hath given you. Hearken also to any extraordinary calls of
charity which may happen, especially those of a public nature, and help them forward
with your example, and your interest in them, which perhaps may be of much greater
importance than the sum which you contribute, considered in itself. Have a tongue to
plead for the necessitous, as well as a hand to relieve them; and endeavor to
discountenance those poor, shameful excuses, which covetousness often dictates to
those whose art may indeed set some varnish on what they suggest, but so slight a one,
that the coarse ground will appear through it. See how many poor children are
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

wandering naked and ignorant about the streets, and in the way to all kinds of vice and
misery; and consider what can be done toward clothing some of them at least, and
instructing them in the principles of religion. Would every thriving family in a town,
who are able to afford help on such occasions, cast a pitying eye on one poor family in
its neighborhood, and take it under their patronage, to assist in feeding, and clothing,
and teaching the children, in supporting it in affliction, in defending it from wrongs,
and in advising those that have the management of it, as circumstances might require,
how great a difference would soon be produced in the character and circumstances of
the community! Observe who are sick, that, if there be no public infirmary at hand to
which you can introduce them, (where your contribution will yield the largest increase)
you may do something towards relieving them at home, and supplying them with
advice and medicines, as well as with proper diet and attendance. Consider also the
spiritual necessities of men: in providing for which, I would particularly recommend to
you the very important and noble charity of assisting young persons of genius and
piety with what is necessary to support the expense of their education for the ministry,
in the proper course of grammatical or academical studies. And grudge not some
proportion of what God hath given you, to those who, resigning all temporal views to
minister to you the Gospel of Christ, have surely an equitable claim to be supported by
you, in a capacity of rendering you those services, however laborious, to which, for
your sakes, and that of our common Lord, they have devoted their lives. And while you
are so abundantly “satisfied with the goodness of Gal's house, even of his own temple,”
(Psa. 65:4) have compassion on those who dwell in a desert land; and rejoice to do
something toward sending among the distant nations of the heathen world, that
glorious Gospel which bath so long continued unknown to multitudes, though the
knowledge of it, with becoming regard, be life everlasting. These are a few important
charities which I would point out to those whom Providence has enriched with its
peculiar bounties; and it renders gold more precious than it could appear in any other
light, that it is capable of being employed for such purposes. But if you should not have
gold to spare for them, contribute your silver; or, as a farthing or a mite is not
overlooked by God, when it is given from a truly generous and charitable heart, (Mark
12:42,43) let that be cheerfully dropped into the treasury, where richer offerings cannot
be afforded.
        12. And that, amidst so many pressing demands for charity, you may be better
furnished to answer them, seriously reflect on your manner of living. I say not that God
requires you should become one of the many poor relieved out of your income. The
support of society, as at present established, will not only permit, but require, that some
persons should allow themselves in the elegancies and delights of life; by furnishing
which, multitudes of poor families are much more creditably and comfortably
subsisted, with greater advantage to themselves and safety to the public, than they
could be, if the price of their labors, or of the commodities in which they deal, were to
be given them as alms; nor can I imagine it grateful to God, that his gifts should be
refused, as if they were meant for snares and curses rather than benefits. This were to
frustrate the benevolent purposes of the gracious Father of mankind, and if carried to its
rigor, would be a sort of conspiracy against the whole system of nature. Let the bounties
of Providence be used; but let us carefully see to it, that it be in a moderate and prudent
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

manner, lest, by our own folly, “that which should have been for our welfare become a
trap.” (Psa. 69:22) Let conscience say, my dear reader, with regard to yourself, what
proportion of the good things you possess your Heavenly Father intends for yourself,
and what for your brethren; and live not as if you had no brethren—as if pleasing
yourself in all the magnificence and luxury you can devise, were the end for which you
were sent into the world. I fear this is the excess of the present age, and not an excess of
rigor and mortification. Examine, therefore, your expenses, and compare them with
your income. That may be shamefully extravagant in you, which may not only be
pardonable, but commendable in another of superior estate. Nor can you be sure that
you do not exceed, merely because you do not plunge your-self into debt, nor render
yourself incapable of laying up any thing for your family. If you be disabled from doing
any thing for the poor, or any thing proportionable to your rank in life, by that genteel
and elegant way of living which you affect, God must disapprove of such a conduct;
and you ought, as you will answer to him, to retrench it. And though the divine
indulgence will undoubtedly be exercised to those in whom there is a sincere principle
of faith in Christ, and undissembled love to God and man, though it act not to that
height of beneficence and usefulness which might have been attained; yet be assured of
this, that he, who rendereth to every one according to his works, will have a strict
regard to the degrees of the goodness in the distribution of final rewards: so that every
neglected opportunity draws after it an irreparable loss, which will go into eternity
along with you. And let me add, too, that every instance of negligence indulged,
renders the mind still more and more indolent and weak, and consequently more
indisposed to recover the ground which has been lost, or even to maintain that which
has been hitherto kept.
        18. Complain not that this is imposing hard things upon you. I am only directing
your pleasures into a nobler channel; and indeed that frugality, which is the source of
such a generosity, far from being at all injurious to your reputation, will rather, among
wise and good men, greatly promote it. But you have far nobler motives before you
than those which arise from their regards. I speak to you as to a child of God, and a
member of Christ; as joined, therefore, by the most intimate union, to all the poorest of
those that believe in him. I speak to you as to an heir of eternal glory, who ought
therefore to have sentiments great and sublime, in some proportion to that expected
        14. Cast about therefore in your thoughts what good is to be done, and what you
can do, either in your own person or by your interest with others; and go about it with
resolution, as in the name and presence of the Lord. And as “the Lord giveth wisdom,
and out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding,” (Prov. 2:6) go to the
footstool of his throne, and there seek that guidance and that grace which may suit your
present circumstances, and may be effectual to produce the fruits of holiness and
usefulness, to his more abundant glory, and to the honor of your Christian profession.

             The established Christian breathing after more extensive Usefulness.

       “O bountiful Father, and sovereign Author of all good, whether natural or
spiritual! I bless thee for the various talents with which thou hast enriched so
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

undeserving a creature as I must acknowledge myself to be. My soul is in the deepest
confusion before thee, when I consider to how little purpose I have hitherto improved
them. Alas! what have I done, in proportion to what than mightest reasonably have
expected, with the gifts of nature which thou hast bestowed upon me, with my
capacities of life, with my time, with my talents, with my possessions, with my
influence over others! Alas! through my own negligence and folly, I look back on a
barren wilderness, where I might have seen a fruitful field, and a springing harvest!
Justly do I indeed deserve to be stripped of all, to be brought to an immediate account
for all; to be condemned, as in many respects unfaithful to thee, and to the world, and to
my own soul; and, in consequence of that condemnation, to be cast into the prison of
eternal darkness! But thou, Lord, hast freely forgiven the dreadful debt of ten thousand
talents. Adored be thy name for it! Accept, O Lord, accept that renewed surrender
which I would now make of myself, and of all I have, unto thy service! I acknowledge
that it is ‘of thine own that I give thee.’ (1 Chron. 29:14) Make me, I beseech thee, a
faithful steward for my great Lord; and may I think of no separate interest of my own,
in opposition to thine!
         “I adore thee, O thou God of all grace! if, while I am thus speaking to thee, I feel
the love of thy creatures arising in my soul; if I feel my heart opening to embrace my
brethren of mankind! O make me thy faithful almoner, in distributing to them all that
thou hast lodged in mine hand for their relief! And in determining what is my own
share, may I hold the balance with an equal hand, and judge impartially between
myself and them! The proportion thou allowest, may I thankfully take for myself and
those who are immediately mine! The rest may I distribute with wisdom, and fidelity,
and cheerfulness! Guide my hand, O ever-merciful Father! while thou dost me the
honor to make me thine instrument in dealing out a few of thy bounties, that I may
bestow them where they are most needed, and where they will answer the best end!
And if it be thy gracious will, do thou ‘multiply the seed sown;’ (2 Cor. 9:10) prosper me
in my worldy affairs, that I may have more to impart to them that need it; and thus lead
me on to the region of everlasting plenty, and everlasting benevolence! There may I
meet with many to whom I have been an affectionate benefactor on earth; and if it be
thy blessed will, with many whom I have also been the means of conducting into the
path to that blissful abode! There may they entertain me in their habitations of glory!
And in time and eternity, do thou, Lord, accept the praise of all, through Jesus Christ; at
whose feet I would bow; and at whose feet, after the most useful course, I would at last
die, with as much humility as if I were then exerting the first act of faith upon him, and
had never had any opportunity, by one tribute of obedience and gratitude in the
services of life, to approve its sincerity!”
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                   CHAPTER XXIX.


   1. Death and judgment are near: but the Christian has reason to welcome both.—2. Yet
   nature recoils from the solemnity of them.—3. An attempt to reconcile the mind to the
   prospect of death.—4. From the considerations of the many evils that surround us in this
   mortal life.—5. Of the remainder of sin which we feel within us.—6, 7. And of the
   happiness which is immediately to succeed death.—8. All which might make the
   Christian willing to die in the most agreeable circumstances of human life.—9. The
   Christian has reason to rejoice in the prospect of judgment.—10. Since, however awful it
   may be, Christ will then come to vindicate his honor, to display his glory, and to
   triumph over his enemies.—11. As also to complete the happiness of every believer.—12,
   13. And of the whole church.—The mediation of a Christian whose heart is warm with
   these prospects.

1. WHEN the visions of the Lord were closing upon John, the beloved disciple, in the
island of Patmos, it is observable that he who gave him that revelation, even Jesus, the
faithful and true witness, concludes with these lively and important words: “He who
testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly:” and John answered with the
greatest readiness and pleasure—“Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus!” Come, as thou
hast said, surely and quickly. And remember, O Christian! whoever you are that are
now reading these words, your divine Lord speaks in the same language to you—
“Behold, I come quickly.” Yes, very quickly will become by death, to turn the key, to
open the door of the grave for thine admittance thither, and to lead thee through it into
the now unknown regions of the invisible world. Nor is it long before “the Judge who
standeth at the door,” (Jam. 5:9) will appear also for universal judgment; and though,
perhaps, not only scores, but hundreds of years will lie between that period and the
present moment, yet it is but a very small point of time to him who views at once all the
unmeasurable ages or a past and future eternity. “A thousand years are with him but as
one day, and one day as a thousand years.” (2 Pet. 3:8) In both these senses, then, does
he come quickly. And I trust you can answer, with a glad Amen, that the warning is not
terrible or unpleasant to your ears; but rather that his coming, his certain, his speedy
coming, is the object of your delightful hope, and of your longing expectation.
        2. I am sure it is reasonable it should be so; and yet perhaps nature, fond of life,
and unwilling to part with along known abode, to enter on a state to which it is entirely
a stranger, may recoil from the thoughts of dying; or, struck with the awful pomp or an
expiring and dissolving world, may look on the judgement-day with some mixture of
terror. And therefore, my dear brother in the Lord, (for such I can now esteem you) I
would reason with you a little on this head, and would entreat you to look more
attentively on this solemn subject; which will, I trust, grow less disagreeable to you, as it
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

is more familiarly viewed. Nay, I hope that, instead of starting back from it, you wilt
rather spring forward toward it with joy and delight.
        3. Think, O Christian! when Christ comes to call you away by death, he comes—
to set you at liberty from your present sorrows—to deliver you from your struggles
with remaining corruption—and to receive you to dwell with himself in complete
holiness and joy. You shall “be absent from the body, and be present with the Lord.” (2
Cor. 5: 8)
        4. He will indeed call you away from this world; but oh! what is this world, that
you should be fond of it, and cling to it with so much eagerness? How low are all those
enjoyments that are peculiar to it, and how many its vexations, its snares, and its
sorrows! Review your pilgrimage thus far; and though you must acknowledge that
“goodness and mercy have followed you all the days of your life,” (Psa. 23:6) yet has
not that very mercy itself planted some thorns in your path, and given you some wise
and necessary, yet painful intimations, that “this is not your rest?” (Mic. 2:10) Review
the monuments of your withered joys, of your blasted hopes, if there be yet any
monuments of them remaining more than a mournful remembrance they have left
behind in your afflicted heart. Look upon the graves that have swallowed up many of
your dearest and most amiable friends, perhaps in the very bloom of life, and in the
greatest intimacy of your converse with them, and reflect, that if you continue a few
years more, death will renew his conquests at your expense, and devour the most
precious of those that yet survive. View the living as well as the dead: behold the state
of human nature under the many grievous marks of its apostacy from God, and say,
whether a wise and good man would wish to continue always here. Methinks, were I
myself secure from being reached by any of the arrows that fly around me, I could not
but mourn to see the wounds that are given by them, and to hear the groans of those
that are continually falling under them. The diseases and calamities of mankind are so
many, and (which is most grievous of all) the distempers of their minds are so various,
and so threatening, that the world appears like a hospital; and a man whose heart is
tender, is ready to feel his spirits broken as he walks through it and surveys the sad
scene; especially when he sees how little he can do for the recovery of those whom he
pities. Are you a Christian? and does it not pierce your heart to see how human nature
is sunk in vice and in shame? To see with what amazing insolence some are making
themselves openly vile, and how the name of Christ is dishonored by too many that call
themselves his people? To see the unlawful deeds and filthy practices of them that live
ungodly; and to behold, at the same time, the infirmities, at least, and irregularities of
those, concerning whom we have better hopes? And do you not wish to escape from
such a world, where a righteous and compassionate soul must be vexed from day to
day by so many spectacles of sin and misery? (2 Pet. 2:8)
        5. Yea, to come nearer home, do you not feel something within you, which you
long to quit, and which would embitter even Paradise itself? Something which, were it
to continue, would grieve and distress you even in the society of the blessed? Do you
not feel a remainder of indwelling sin, the sad consequence of the original revolt of our
nature from God? Are you not struggling every day with some residue of corruption, or
at least mourning on account of the weakness of your graces? Do you not often find
your spirits dull and languid, when you would desire to raise them to the greatest
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

fervor in the service of God ? Do you not find your heart too often insensible of the
richest instances of his love, and your hands feeble in his service, even when “to will is
present with you?” (Rom. 7:18) Does not your life, in its best days and hours, appear a
low, unprofitable thing, when compared with what you are sensible it ought to be, and
with what you wish that it were ? Are you not frequently, as it were, “stretching the
pinions of the mind,” and saying, “O that I had wings like a dove, that I might fly away
and be at rest!” (Psa. 55:6)
        6. Should you not then rejoice in the thought, that Jesus comes to deliver you
from these complaints? That he comes to answer your wishes, and to fulfill the largest
desires of your hearts, those desires that he himself has inspired? That he comes to open
upon you a world of purity and joy; of active, exalted, and unwearied services?
        7. O Christian! how often have you cast a longing eye toward those happy
shores, and wished to pass the sea, the boisterous, unpleasant, dangerous sea, that
separates you from them! When your Lord has condescended to make you a short visit
in his ordinances on earth, how have you blessed the time and the place, and
pronounced it, amidst many other disadvantages of situation, to be “the very gate of
heaven!” (Gen. 28:17) And is it so delightful to behold this gate? and will it not be much
more so to enter into it ? Is it so delightful to receive the visits of Jesus for an hour? and
will it not be infinitely more so to dwell with him for ever ? “Lord,” may you well say,
“when I dwell with thee, I shall dwell in holiness, for thou thyself art holiness; in love,
for thou thyself art love:I shall dwell in joy, for thou art the fountain of joy, as thou art
in the Father, and the Father in thee.” (John 17:21) Bid welcome to his approach,
therefore, to take you at your word, and to fulfill to you that saying of his, on which
your soul has so often rested with heavenly peace and pleasure: “Father, I will that they
whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory
which thou hast given me.” (John 17:24)
        8. Surely you may say in this view, “The sooner Christ comes the better." What
though the residue of your days be cut off in the midst ? What though you leave many
expected pleasures in life untasted, and many schemes unaccomplished ? Is it not
enough, that what is taken from a mortal life, shall be added to a glorious eternity; and
that you shall spend those days and years in the presence and service of Christ in
heaven, which you might otherwise have spent with him and for him, in the imperfect
enjoyment and labors of earth?
        9. But your prospects reach, not only beyond death, but beyond the separate
state. For with regard to his final appearance to judgment, our Lord says, “Surely I
come quickly,” in the sense illustrated before; and so it will appear to us, if we compare
this interval of time with the blissful eternity which is to succeed it; and probably, if we
compare it with those ages which have already passed since the sun began to measure
out to earth its days and its years. And will you not here also sing your part in the joyful
anthem, “Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus!”
        10. It is true, Christian, it is an awful day; a day in which nature shall be thrown
into a confusion as yet unknown. No earthquake, no eruption of burning mountains, no
desolation of cities by devouring flames, or of countries by overflowing rivers or seas,
can give any just emblem of that dreadful day, when “the heavens, being on fire, shall
be dissolved; the earth also, and all that is therein, shall be burnt up;” (2 Pet. 3:10-12)
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

when all nature shall flee away in amazement “before the face of the universal Judge,”
(Rev. 20:11) and there shall be a great cry, far beyond what was known “in the land of
Egypt, when there was not a house in which there was not one dead.” (Exod. 12: 30)
Your flesh may be ready to tremble at the view; yet your spirit must surely “rejoice in
God your Savior.” (Luke 1:47) You may justly say, “Let this illustrious day come, even
with all its horrors!” Yea, like the Christians described by the apostle, (2 Pet. 3:12) you
may be looking for, and hastening to that day of terrible brightness and universal
doom. For your Lord will then come, to vindicate the justice of those proceedings which
have been in many instances so much obscured, and because they have been obscured,
have been also blasphemed. He will come to display his magnificence, descending from
heaven “with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God,” (1 Thess.
4:16) taking his seat upon a throne infinitely exceeding that of earthly, or even of
celestial princes, clothed with “his Father's glory and his own,” (Luke 9:26) surrounded
with a numberless host of “shining attendants, when coming to be glorified in his
saints, and admired in all them that believe.” (2 Thess. 1:10) His enemies shall also be
produced to grace his triumph. The serpent shalt be seen there rolling in the dust, and
trodden under foot by him and by all his servants; those who once condemned him
shall tremble at his presence; and those who bowed the knee before him in profane
mockery, shall, in wild despair, “call to the mountains to fall upon them, and to the
rocks to hide them from the face of that Lamb of God,” (Rev. 6:16) whom they once led
away to the most inhuman slaughter.
        11. O Christian! does not your loyal heart bound at the thought? And are you not
ready, even while reading these lines, to begin the victorious shout in which you are
then to join ? He justly expects that your thoughts should be greatly elevated and
impressed with the views of his triumph; but at the same time he permits you to
remember your own personal share in the joy and glory of that blessed day; and even
now he has the view before him, of what his power and love shall then accomplish for
your salvation. And what shall it not accomplish? He shall come to break the bars of the
grave, and to re-animate your sleeping clay. Your bodies must indeed be laid in dust,
and be lodged there as a testimony of God’s displeasure against sin, against the first sin
that ever was committed, from the sad consequences of which the dearest of his
children cannot be exempted. But you shall then have an ear to hear the voice of the Son
of God, and an eye to behold the lustre of his appearance; and shall “shine forth like the
sun” arising in the clear heaven, “which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.”
(Psa. 19:5) Your soul shall be new dressed to grace this high solemnity, and be clothed,
not with rags of mortality, but with the robes of glory; for he “shall change this vile
body, to fashion it like his own glorious body.” (Phil. 3:21) And when you are thus
royally arrayed, he shall confer public honors on you, and on all his people, before the
assembled world. You may now perhaps be loaded with infamy, called by reproachful
names, and charged with crimes, or with views which your very soul abhors; but he
will “then bring forth your righteousness as the light,” (Psa. 37:6) “and your salvation as
a lamp that burneth.” (Isa. 62:1) Though you have been dishonored by men, you shall
be acknowledged, by God; and though treated “as the filth of the world, and the off-
scouring of all things,” (1 Cor. 4:13) he will show that he regards you “as his treasure, in
the day that he makes up his jewels.” (Matt. 3:17) When he shall “put away all the
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

wicked of the earth like dross, (Psa. 119:119) you shall be pronounced righteous in that
full assembly; and though indeed you have broken the divine law, and might in strict
justice have been condemned, yet, being clothed with the righteousness of the great
Redeemer, even “that righteousness which is of the great God by faith,” (Phil. 3:9)
justice itself shall acquit you, and join with mercy in “bestowing upon you a crown of
life.” (2 Tim. 4:8) Christ will “confess you before men and angels,” (Luke 12:8) will
pronounce you good and faithful servants, and call you to “enter into the joy of your
Lord:” (Matt. 25:21) he will speak of you with endearment as his brethren, and will
acknowledge the kindnesses which have been shown to you, as if he had “received
them in his own person.” (Matt. 25:40) Yea, then shall you, O Christians! who may
perhaps have sat in some of the lowest places in our assemblies, to whom, it may be,
none of the rich and great of the earth would condescend to speak; then shall you be
called to be assessors with Christ on his judgment-seat, and to join with him in the
sentence he shall pass on wicked men and rebellious angels.
         12. Nor is it merely one day of glory and triumph. But when the Judge arises, and
ascends to his Father's court, all the blessed shall ascend with him, and you among the
rest: you shall ascend together with your Savior, “to his Father and your Father, to his
God and your God.” (John 20:17) You shall go to make your appearance in the new
Jerusalem, in those new shining forms that you have received, which will no doubt be
attended with a correspondent improvement of mind; and take up your perpetual
abode in that fullness of joy, with which you shall be filled and satisfied “in the
presence of God,” (Psa. 16:11.) upon the consummation of that happiness which the
saints, in the intermediate state, have been wishing and waiting for. You shall go from
the ruins of a dissolving world, to “the new heavens and new earth, wherein
righteousness for ever dwells.” (2 Pet. 3:13) There all the number of God's elect shall be
accomplished, and the happiness of each shall be completed. The whole society shall be
“presented before God, as the bride, the Lamb's wife,” (Rev. 21:9) whom the eye of its
celestial bridegroom shall survey with unutterable delight, and confess to be “without
spot or wrinkle, or any such thing,” (Eph. 5:27) its character and state being just what he
originally designed it to be, when he first engaged to “give himself for it, to redeem it to
God by his blood.” (Rev. 5:9) “So shall you ever be” with each other, and “with the
Lord,” (1 Thess. 4:17) and immortal ages shall roll away and find you still unchanged:
your happiness always the same, and your relish for it the same; or rather ever growing,
as your souls are approaching nearer and nearer to him who is the source of happiness,
and the centre of infinite perfection.
         13. And now look round about upon earth, and single out, if you can, the
enjoyments or the hopes, for the sake of which you would say, Lord, delay thy coming;
or for the sake of which you any more should hesitate to express your longing for it,
and to cry, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!”

     The Meditation or Prayer of a Christian whose Heart is warmed with these Prospects.

       “O blessed Lord! my soul is enkindled with these views, and rises to thee in a
flame.” (Jud. 13:20) Thou hast testified, thou comest quickly; and I repeat my joyful
assent, “Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) Come, for I long to have done
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

with this low life; to have done with its burdens, its sorrows, anti its snares! Come, for I
long to ascend into thy presence, and to see the court thou art holding above.
        “Blessed Jesus, death is transformed, when I view it in this light. The king of
terrors is seen no more as such, so near the King of Glory and of Grace. I hear with
pleasure the sound of thy feet approaching still nearer and nearer. Draw aside the veil
whenever thou pleasest. Open the bars of my prison, that my eager soul may spring
forth ‘to thee, and cast itself at thy feet;’ at the feet of that Jesus, ‘whom, having not seen,
I love,’ and ‘in whom, though now I see thee not, yet believing, I rejoice with joy
unspeakable and full of glory.’ (1 Pet. 1:8) Thou, Lord, ‘shalt show me the path of life;’
thine hand shall guide me to thy blissful abode, where ‘there is fullness of joy, and
rivers of everlasting pleasure. (Psa. 16:11) Thou shalt assign me a habitation with thy
faithful servants, whose separate spirits are now living with thee, while their bodies
sleep in the dust. Many of them have been my companions in thy laborious work, and
in the ‘patience and tribulation of thy kingdom,’ (Rev. 1:9) my dear companions, and
my brethren. O show me, blessed Savior, how glorious and how happy thou hast made
them. Show me to what new forms of better life thou hast conducted them whom we
call the dead! In what nobler and more extensive services thou hast employed them!
That I may praise thee better than I now can, for thy goodness to them. And O give me
to share with them in their blessings and their services, and to raise a song of grateful
love, like that which they are breathing forth before thee!
        “Yet, O my blessed Redeemer! even there will my soul be aspiring to yet a nobler
and more glorious hope; and from this as yet unknown splendor and felicity shall I be
drawing new arguments to look and long for the day of thy final appearance, There
shall I long more ardently than I now do, to see thy conduct vindicated, and thy
triumph displayed; to see the dust of thy servants re-animated, and ‘death, the last of
their enemies and of thine, swallowed up in victory.’ (1 Cor. 15:26,54) I shall long for
that superior honor that thou intendest me, and that complete bliss to which the whole
body of thy people shall be conducted. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, will mingle
itself with the songs of paradise, and sound from the tongues of all the millions of thy
saints whom thy grace hath transplanted thither
        “In the meantime. O my divine Master, accept the homage which a grateful heart
now pays thee, in a sense of the glorious hopes with which thou bast inspired it! It is
thou that hast put this joy into it, and hast raised my soul to this glorious ambition
whereas I might otherwise have now been groveling in the lowest trifles of time and
sense, and been looking with horror on that hour which is now the object of my most
ardent wishes.
        “O be with me always, even to the end of this mortal life. And give me, while
waiting for thy salvation, to be doing thy commandments. May ‘my loins be girded
about, and my lamp burning,’ (Luke 12:35) and my ears be still watchful for the blessed
signal of thine arrival; that my glowing soul may with pleasure spring to meet thee, and
be strengthened by death to bear those visions of glory, under the ecstasies of which
feeble mortality would now expire!”
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

                                    CHAPTER XXX.


   1. Reflections on the sincerity with which the preceding counsel has been given.—2, 3.
   The author is desirous that (if Providence permit) he may assist the Christian to die
   honorably and comfortably.—4. With this view, it is advised—to rid the mind of all
   earthly cares.—5. To renew the humiliation of the soul before God, and its application to
   the blood of Christ.—6. To exercise patience under bodily pains and sorrows.—7. At
   leaving the world, to bear an honorable testimony to religion.—8 To give a solemn
   charge to surviving friends.—9. especially recommending faith in Christ.—10, 11. To
   keep the promises of God in view.—12. And to commit the departing spirit to God, in
   the genuine exercises of gratitude and repentance, faith and charity, which are
   exemplified in the concluding meditation and prayer.

1. THUS, my dear reader, I have endeavored to lead you through a variety of
circumstances, and those not fancied or imaginary, but such as do indeed occur in the
human and Christian life. And I can truly and cheerfully say, that I have marked out to
you the path which I myself have trod, and in which it is my desire still to go on. I have
ventured my own everlasting interests on that foundation on which I have directed you
to adventure yours. What I have recommended as the grand business of your life, I
desire to make the business or my own; and the most considerable enjoyments which I
expect or desire in the remaining days of my pilgrimage on earth, are such as I have
directed you to seek and endeavored to assist you in attaining. Such love to God, such
constant activity in his service, such pleasurable views of what lies beyond the grave,
appear to me (God is my witness) a felicity incomparably beyond anything else which
can offer itself to our affection and pursuit; and I would not for ten thousand worlds
resign my share in them, or consent even to the suspension of the delights which they
afford, during the remainder of my abode here.
        2. I would humbly hope, through the divine blessing, that the hours you have
spent in the review of these plain things, may have turned to some profitable account;
and that, in consequence of what you have read, you have been either brought into the
way or life and peace, or been induced to quicken your pace in it. Most heartily should I
rejoice in being further useful to you, and that even to the last. Now there is one scene
remaining, a scene through which you must infallibly pass, which has something in it
so awful, that I cannot but attempt doing a little to assist you in it: I mean the dark
Valley of the Shadow of Death. I could earnestly wish, that, for the credit of your
profession, the comfort of your own soul, and the joy and edification of your surviving
friends, you might die, not only safely, but honorably too; and therefore I would offer
you some parting advice. I am sensible, indeed, that Providence may determine the
circumstances of your death in such a manner, as that you may have no opportunity of
acting upon the hints I now give you. Some unexpected accident from without, or from
within, may, as it were, whirl you to heaven before you are aware; and you may find
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

yourself so suddenly there, that it may seem a translation rather than a death. Or it is
possible the force of a distemper may affect your understanding in such a manner, that
you may be quite insensible of the circumstances in which you are; and so your
dissolution (though others may see it visibly and certainly approaching) may be as
great a surprise to you as if you had died in full health.
         3. But as it is, on the whole, probable you may have a more sensible passage out
of time into eternity, and as much may, in various respects, depend on your dying
behavior, give me leave to propose some plain directions with relation to it, to be
practiced, if God give you opportunity, and remind you of them. It may not be
improper to look over the 29th chapter again, when you find the symptoms of any
threatening disorder. And I the rather hope that what I say may be useful to you, as
methinks I find myself disposed to address you with something of that peculiar
tenderness which we feel for a dying friend; to whom, as we expect that we shall speak
to him no more, we send out, as it were, all our hearts in every word.
         4. I would advise, then, in the first place, “that as soon as possible, you would
endeavor to get rid of all further care with regard to your temporal concerns, by settling
them in time, in as reasonable and Christian a manner as you can.” I could wish there
may be nothing of that kind to hurry your mind when you are least able to bear it, or to
distress or divide those who come after you. Do that which in the presence of God you
judge most equitable. and which you verily believe will be most pleasing to him. Do it
in as prudent and effectual a manner as you can; and then consider the world as a place
you have quite done with, and its affairs as nothing further to you, more than to one
actually dead, unless as you may do any good to its inhabitants while yet you continue
among them, and may by any circumstance in your last actions or words in life, leave a
blessing behind you to those who have been your friends and fellow-travelers, while
you have been despatching that journey through it which you are now finishing.
         5. That you may be the more at leisure, and the better prepared for this, “enter
into some sermons review of your own state, and endeavor to put your soul into as fit a
posture as possible for your solemn appearance before God.” For a solemn thing indeed
it is, to go into his immediate presence; to stand before him, not as a supplicant at the
throne of his grace, but at his bar as a separate spirit, whose time of probation is over,
and whose eternal state is to be immediately determined. Renew your humiliation
before God for the imperfections of your life, though it has, in the main, been devoted to
his service. Renew your application to the mercies of God as promised in the covenant
of grace, and to the blood of Christ as the blessed channel in which they flow. Resign
yourself entirely to the divine disposal and conduct, as willing to serve God, either in
this world or the other, as he shall see fit. And sensible of your sinfulness on the one
hand, and of the divine wisdom and goodness on the other, summon up all the
fortitude of your soul to bear, as well as you can, whatever his afflicting hand may
further lay upon you, and to receive the last stroke of it, as one who would maintain the
most entire subjection to the great and good Father of spirits.
         6. Whatever you suffer, endeavor to show “yourself an example of patience.” Let
that amiable grace “have its perfect work;” (Jam. 1:4) and since it has so little more to
do, let it close the scene nobly. Let there not be a murmuring word; and that there may
not, watch against every repining thought. And when you feel any thing of that kind
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

arising, look by faith upon a dying Savior, and ask your own heart, “Was not his cross
much more painful than the bed on which I lie? Was not his situation, among blood-
thirsty enemies, infinitely more terrible than mine amidst the tenderness and care of so
many affectionate friends? Did not the heavy load of my sins press him in a much more
overwhelming manner than I am pressed by the load of these afflictions ? And yet he
bore all, ‘as a lamb that is brought to the slaughter.’” (Isa. 53:7) Let the remembrance of
his sufferings be a means to sweeten yours; yea, let it cause you to rejoice, when you are
called to bear the cross for a little while, before you wear the crown. Count it all joy, that
you have an opportunity yet once more of honoring God by your patience, which is
now acting its last part, and will, in a few days, and perhaps in a few hours, he
superseded by complete, everlasting blessedness. And I am willing to hope, that in
these views you will not only suppress all passionate complaints, but that your mouth
will be filled with the praises of God; and that you will be speaking to those who are
about you, not only of his justice, but of his goodness too. So that you will be enabled to
communicate your inward joys in such a manner as may be a lively and edifying
comment upon those words of the Apostle, “Tribulation worketh patience; and
patience, experience; and experience, hope; even a hope which maketh not ashamed,
while the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given
unto us,” (Rom. 5: 3-5)
       7. And now, my dear friend, “now is the time, when it is especially expected
from you, that you bear an honorable testimony to religion.” Tell those that are about
you, as well as you can, (for you will never be able fully to express it) what comfort and
support you have found in it. Tell them how it has brightened the darkest
circumstances of your life: tell them how it now reconciles you to the near views of
death. Your words will carry with them a peculiar weight at such a season: there will be
a kind of eloquence, even in the infirmities with which you are struggling, while you
give them utterance; and you will be heard with attention, with tenderness, with credit.
And therefore, when the time of your departure is at hand, with unaffected freedom
breathe out your joy, if you then feel (as I hope you will) a holy joy and delight in God.
Breathe out, however, your inward peace and serenity of mind, if you be then peaceful
and serene:others will mark it, and be encouraged to tread the steps which lead to so
happy an end. Tell them what you feel of the vanity of the world, and they may learn to
regard it less. Tell them what you feel of the substantial supports of the Gospel, and
they may learn to value it more; for they cannot but know that they must he down on a
dying bed too, and must then need all the relief which the Gospel itself can give them.
       8. And to enforce the conviction the more, “give a solemn charge to those that are
about you, that they spend their lives in the service of God, and govern themselves by
the principles of real religion.” You may remember that Joshua and David, and other
good men did so, when they perceived that the days drew near in which they should
die. And you know not how the admonitions of a dying friend, or (as it may be with
respect to some) of a dying parent, may impress those who may have disregarded what
you and others may have said to them before. At least, make the trial, and die, laboring
to glorify God, to save souls, and generously to sow the seeds of goodness and
happiness in a world where you have no more harvest to reap. Perhaps they may spring
up in a plentiful crop, when the clods of the valley are covering your body: but if not,
                                  OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

God will approve it; and the angels that wait around your bed to receive your departing
soul will look upon each other with marks of approbation in their countenance, and
own that this is to expire like a Christian, and to make a glorious improvement of
        9. And in this last address to your fellow-mortals, whoever they are that
Providence brings near you, “be sure that you tell them how entirely and how
cheerfully your hopes and dependence in this season of the last extremity are fixed, not
upon your own merits and obedience, but on what the great Redeemer has done and
has suffered for sinners.” Let them see that you die, as it were, at the foot of the cross:
nothing will be so comfortable to yourself, nothing so edifying to them. Let the name of
Jesus, therefore, be in your mouth while you are able to speak, and when you can speak
no longer, let it be in your heart; and endeavor that the last act of your soul, while it
continues in the body, may be an act of bumble faith in Christ. Come unto God by him:
enter into that which is within the veil, as with the blood of sprinkling fresh upon you.
It is an awful thing for such a sinner (as you, my Christian friend, with all the virtues
the world may have admired, know yourself to be) to stand before that infinitely pure
and holy Being who has seen all your ways, and all your heart, and has a perfect
knowledge of every mixture of imperfection which has attended the best of your duties:
but venture in that way, and you will find it both safe and pleasant.
        10. Once more, “to give you comfort in a dying hour, and to support your feeble
steps while you are traveling through this dark and painful way, take the word of God
as a staff in your hand.” Let books, and mortal friends, now do their last office for you.
Call, if you can, some experienced Christian, who has felt the power of the word of God
upon his own heart, and let him bring the Scripture, and turn you to some of those
precious promises which have been the food and rejoicing of his own soul. It is with this
view that I may carry the good office I am now engaged in as far as possible, that I shall
here give you a collection of a few such admirable scriptures, each of them “infinitely
more valuable than thousands of gold and silver.” (Psa. 119:72) And to convince you of
the degree in which I esteem them, I will take the freedom to add, that I desire they may
(if God give an opportunity) be read over to me, as I lie on my dying bed, with short
intervals between them, that I may pause upon each, and renew something of that
delightful relish which, I bless God, I have often found in them. May your soul and
mine be then composed to a sacred silence, (whatever be the commotion of animal
nature) while the voice of God speaks to us in the language which he spake to his
servants of old, or in which he instructed them how they should speak to him in
circumstances of the greatest extremity!
        11. Can any more encouragement be wanting, when he says, “Fear not, for I am
with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help
thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness?” (Isa. 41:10) And
“he is not man that he should lie, or the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said,
and shall he not do it ? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Num. 23:19)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of
my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psa. 27:1) “This God is our God for ever and
ever:he will be our guide even unto death.” (Psa. 48:14) Therefore, “though I walk
through the valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy
                                    OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psa. 23:4) “I have waited for thy salvation, O
Lord.” (Gen. 49:18) “O continue thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee, and thy
righteousness to the upright in heart! For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light
shall we see light.” (Psa. 36:9,10) “Thou wilt show we the path of life; in thy presence is
fullness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,” (Psa. 16:11) “As for
me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy
likeness.” (Psa. 17:15) “For I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he
is able to keep what I have committed to him until that day.” (2 Tim. 1:12) “Therefore
my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in hope.” (Psa. 16:9)
“For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; those also that sleep in Jesus will God
bring with him.” (1 Thess. 4:14) “I give unto my sheep eternal life,” said Jesus, the good
Shepherd, “and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.”
(John 10:28) “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one that believeth on me
should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40) “Let not
your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are
many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you: I go to prepare a place for you;
and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself,
that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) “Go tell my brethren, I ascend unto
my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17) “Father, I will
that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my
glory which thou hast given me; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in
them, and I in them.” (John 17:24,26) “He that testifieth these things saith, “Surely I
come quickly; Amen: even so come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) “O death, where is thy
sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (1 Cor. 15:55,57)
        12. Thus may that God, who “knows the souls of his children in alt their
adversities,” (Psa. 31:7) and in “whose sight the death of his saints is precious,” (Psa.
116:15) cheer and support you and me in those last extremities of nature! May he add us
to the happy number of those who have been more than conquerors in death! And may
he give us those supplies of his Spirit which may enable us to pour out our departing
souls in such sentiments as those I would now suggest, though we should be no longer
able to utter words, or to understand them if they were read to us. Let us, at least,
review them with all proper affections now, and lay up one prayer more for that awful
moment. O that this, and all we have ever offered with regard to it, may then “come to
remembrance before God!” (Acts 10:4,31)

               A Meditation, or Prayer, suited to the case of a Dying Christian.

       “O thou supreme Ruler of the visible and invisible worlds! thou Sovereign of life
and of death, of earth and of heaven, blessed be thy name, I have often been taught to
seek thee. And now once more do I pour out my soul, my departing soul unto thee.
‘Bow down thy gracious ear, O God! and let my cry come before thee with acceptance.’
       “The hour is come, when thou wilt separate me from this world, with which I
have been so long and so familiarly acquainted, and lead me to another, as yet
unknown. Enable me, I beseech thee, to make the exchange as becomes a child of
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

Abraham, who being ‘called of thee to receive an inheritance, obeyed and went out,’
though he knew not particularly whither he went: (Heb. 11:8) as becomes a child of
God, who knows that, through sovereign grace, ‘it is his Father's good pleasure to give
him the kingdom.’ (Luke 12:32)
        “I acknowledge, O Lord! the justice of that sentence by which I am expiring! and
own thy wisdom and goodness in appointing my journey through this gloomy vale
which is now before me. Help me to turn it into the happy occasion of honoring thee,
and adorning my profession! and I will bless the pangs by which thou art glorified, and
this mortal and sinful part of my nature dissolved.
        “Gracious Father! I would not quit this earth of thine, and this house of clay, in
which I have sojourned during my abode upon the face of it, without my grateful
acknowledgments to thee for all that abundant goodness which thou hast caused to
pass before me here: (Exod. 33:19) with my dying breath I bear witness to thy faithful
care: I have ‘wanted no good thing.’ (Psa. 34:10) I thank thee, O my God! that this guilty,
forfeited, unprofitable life, was so long spared; that it hath still been maintained by such
a rich variety of thy bounty. I thank thee that thou hast made this beginning of my
existence so pleasant to me. I thank thee for the mercies of my days and nights, of my
months and years, which are now come to their period: I thank thee for the mercies of
my infancy, and for those of my riper age; for all the agreeable friends which thou hast
given me in this house of my pilgrimage, ‘the living and the dead;’ for all the help I
have received from others, and for all opportunities which thou hast given me of being
helpful to the bodies and souls of my brethren of mankind. ‘Surely goodness and mercy
have followed me all the days of my life,’ (Psa. 23:6) and I have reason to rise a thankful
guest from the various and pleasant entertainments with which my table has been
furnished by thee. Nor, shall I have reason to repine, or to grieve at quitting them; for, O
my God! are thy bounties exhausted? I know that they are not. I will not wrong thy
goodness and thy faithfulness so much as to imagine, that, because I am going from this
earth, I am going from happiness. I adore thy mercy, that thou hast taught me to
entertain nobler views through Jesus thy Son. I bless thee with all the powers of my
nature, that I ever heard his name, and heard of his death; and would fain exert a more
vigorous act of thankful adoration than in this broken state I am capable of, while I am
extolling thee for the riches of thy grace manifested in him, for his instructions and his
example, for his blood and his righteousness, and for that blessed Spirit of thine which
thou hast given me, to turn my sinful heart unto thyself, and to bring me ‘into the bonds
of thy covenant,’ of that covenant which ‘is ordered in all things and sure,’ (2 Sam. 23:5)
and which this death, though now separating my soul from my body, shall never be
able to dissolve.
        “I bless thee, O Lord! that I am not dying in an unregenerate and impenitent
state; but that thou didst graciously awaken and convince me, that thou didst renew
and sanctify my heart, and didst, by thy good Spirit, work in it an unfeigned faith, a real
repentance, and the beginning of a divine life. I thank thee for faithful ministers and for
gospel ordinances: I thank thee for my Sabbaths and seasons of communion at the table
of my Lord; and for the weekly and monthly refreshments which they gave me. I -thank
thee for the fruits of Canaan which were sent me in the wilderness, and are now sent
me on the brink of Jordan. I thank thee for thy blessed word, and for those exceeding
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

rich and precious promises of it, which now lie, as a cordial, warm at my heart in this
chilling hour: promises of support in death, and of glory beyond it, and of the
resurrection of my body to everlasting life. O my God! I firmly believe them all, great
and wonderful as they are, and am waiting for the accomplishment of them through
Jesus Christ; ‘in whom they are all Yea and Amen.’ (2 Cor. 1:20) ‘Remember thy word
unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope.’ (Psa. 119:49) I covenanted
with thee, not only for worldly enjoyments which thy love taught me comparatively to
despise: but for eternal life, as ‘the gift of thy free grace through Jesus Christ my Lord:’
(Rom. 6:28) and now permit me, in his name, to enter my humble claim to it. Permit me
to consign ‘this departing spirit to thine hand; for thou hast redeemed it O Lord God of
truth!’ (Psa. 31:5) ‘I am thine: save me, and make me happy’ (Psa. 119:94)
        “But may I indeed presume to say I am thine? O God! now I am standing on the
borders of both worlds, now I view things as in the light of thy presence and of eternity,
how unworthy do I appear that I should be taken to dwell with thy angels and taints in
glory! Alas! I have reason to look back with deep humiliation on a poor, unprofitable
sinful life, in which I have daily been deserving to be cast into hell. But I have this one
comfortable reflection, that I have fled to the cross of Christ; and I now renew my
application to it. To think of appearing before God in such an imperfect righteousness
as my own, were ten thousand times worse than death. No, Lord, I come unto thee as a
sinner; but as a sinner who has believed in thy Son for pardon and life: I fall down
before thee as a guilty, polluted wretch; but thou hast made him to be unto thy people
for ‘wisdom and righteousness, for sanctification and redemption.’ (1 Cor. 1:20) Let me
have my lot among the followers of Jesus! Treat me, as thou treatest those who are his
friends and his brethren! For thou knowest my soul has loved him and trusted in him,
and solemnly ventured itself on the security of his Gospel. And ‘I know in whom I have
believed.’ (2 Tim. 1:12) The infernal lion may attempt to dismay me in the awful
passage; but I rejoice that I am ‘in the hands of the good shepherd,’ (John 10:11,28) and I
defy all my spiritual enemies, in a cheerful dependence on his faithful care. I lift up my
eyes and my heart to him, who ‘was dead and is alive again; and behold he liveth for
evermore, and hath the keys of death and of the unseen world.’ (Rev. 1:18) Blessed
Jesus, I die by thine hand, and I fear no harm from the hand of a Savior! I fear not that
death which is allotted to me by the hand of my dearest Lord, who himself died to
make it safe and happy. I come, Lord, I come, not only with a willing, but with a joyful
consent. I thank thee that thou rememberest me for good; that thou art breaking my
chains, and calling me to ‘the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ (Rom. 8:21) I
thank thee, that thou wilt no longer permit me to live at a distance from thine arms; but,
after this long absence, wilt have me at home, at home for ever.
        “My feeble nature faints in the view of that glory which is now dawning upon
me; but thou knowest, gracious Lord, how to let it in upon my soul by just degrees, and
to ‘make thy strength perfect in my weakness.’ (2 Cor. 7:9) Once more, for the last time,
would I look down on this poor world which I am going to quit, and breathe out my
dying prayer for its prosperity, and that of thy church in it. I have loved it, O Lord! as a
living member of the body; and I love it to the last I humbly beseech thee, therefore, that
thou wilt guard it, and purify it, and unite it more and more. Send down more of thy
blessed Spirit upon it, even the Spirit of wisdom, of holiness, and of love; till in due time
                                   OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

‘the wilderness he turned into the garden of the Lord,’ (Isa. 51:3) and ‘all flesh shall see
thy salvation!’ (Luke 3:6)
        “As for me, bear me, O my heavenly Father! on the wings of everlasting love, to
that peaceful, that holy, that joyous abode, which thy mercy has prepared for me, and
which the blood of my Redeemer has purchased! Bear me ‘to the general assembly and
church of the first-born, to the innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just
men made perfect.’ (Heb. 12:22,23) And whatever this flesh may suffer, let my steady
soul be delightfully fixed on that glory to which it is rising! Let faith perform its last
office in an honorable manner! Let my few remaining moments on earth be spent for
thy glory, and so let me ascend, with love in my heart, and praise on my faltering
tongue. to the world where love and praise shall be complete! Be this my last song on
earth, which I am going to tune in heaven: ‘Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power,
be unto Him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Amen!”
                                 OF DR. DODDRIDGE.

DR. DODDRIDGE was born in London, June 26, 1709. He was of a consumptive habit
from infancy, was brought up in the early knowledge of religion, and was left an orphan
before he arrived at the age of 14. At 16 be made a profession of religion; at 20
commenced preaching the Gospel; and at 21 was settled over a small congregation, in an
obscure village, where be devoted himself to the acquisition of useful knowledge with
indefatigable zeal. At 27 he was removed to the pastoral care of the church in
Northampton, where, for 22 years, amidst other diversified labors, he acted as an
instructor of youth preparing for the ministry, having had under his charge, during that
period, upwards of 200 young men. At the age of 37 and 38 he published two volumes
of his Family Expositor; and about the age of 43 wrote “The Rise and Progress of Religion
in the Soul.” At 46 he published the third volume of the Family Expositor, and two
Dissertations.—1. On Sir Isaac Newton's System of the Harmony. 2. On the Inspiration
of the New Testament. In December, 1750, in the 49th year of his age, he went to St.
Albans and preached the funeral sermon of his early patron and benefactor, Dr. Clark, in
which journey he contracted a cold that laid the foundation for his death. In July, 1751,
he addressed his flock for the last time from the pulpit; and having found all medical aid
ineffectual, embarked, in October, for Lisbon, as the last resort in so threatening a
disorder, at which place he died on the 26th of October, aged 49 years.
He was not handsome in person; was very thin and slender, in stature somewhat above
the middle size, with a stoop in his shoulders; but when engaged in conversation, or
employed in the pulpit, there was a remarkable sprightliness in his countenance and
manner, which commanded general attention.

This volume is stereotyped and perpetuated, through the liberality of Col. Henry
Rutgers and Col. Richard Varick, of New-York; Nicholas Brown, Esq. of Providence; and
Hon. Stephen Van Rensselaer, of Albany.

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